Absa Bank Kenya has announced a combined Kes60 million investment for sponsorship of the national athletics season this year.
Of this commitment, a total of Kes50 million will be used as title sponsors of the 2023 edition of the Kip Keino Classic Tour that will be held at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani Stadium on May 13th, setting the stage for the final edition of the global athletic showpiece.
The remaining Kes10 million will be used as leverage amounts to support subsequent events in the Kenya athletics calendar, including the Under 18 and Under 20 African Championships trials and the National World Athletics Bronze Cross Country and Sirikwa World Athletics Gold Cross Country which happened in February.
Speaking during the announcement at the Kasarani Stadium, Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director Abdi Mohamed affirmed the Bank’s long-term support for the local sports scene at large. “Athletics is the heart of Kenya’s sports, and it plays to the betterment of our society. As a truly African brand, we are honoured to be part of the team shaping the success of the Absa Kip Keino Classic Tour for the third consecutive year as the official title sponsors,” said Mr Mohamed.
Principal Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Youth Affairs and the Arts, Jonathan Mueke graced the launch encouraging the private sector to collectively and individually promote the development of sports to uplift the economy.
“The government is taking sports and arts as an economic enabler and key to this identification, development and commercialising talent, especially among our young people. We thank Absa on behalf of the government and invite people from all walks of life to Kasarani as the event will be free of charge,” adds Mr Mueke.
On his part, Athletics Kenya’s President Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said: “preparations for this international event are progressing well. We are expecting a bigger and better event due to the number of athletes who are coming. We urge Kenyans to turn out in large numbers to help us set the stage for our plans to upgrade KipKeino Classic to the Diamond League. ”
As preparations for the one-day international meet enter the homestretch, top track and field athletes across various categories have confirmed their participation, promising another action-packed leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event named after retired icon Kipchoge Keino.
The past three editions of the Kip Keino Classic have produced some of the most memorable moments in global athletics in recent years. Five-time 100M Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce (Jamaica) and sixth fastest woman of all Sha’carri Richardson (USA), two-time Olympic medallist sprinter Aaron Brown (Canada) are among the latest crop of elite athletes who will grace this year’s edition.
Some of the Kenyan stars who will torch the track include World 1500m Indoor Championship bronze medallist Abel Kipsang, Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala and 800m Commonwealth gold medallist Mary Moraa.
Mr Mohamed noted that Absa‘s partnership with Athletics Kenya and the Ministry of Sports serves as a clear testimony to the power of private/public partnership in organising and hosting international sporting events that continue to position Kenya as a favourable global sporting and tourism destination with resultant economic benefits.
“The Kip Keino Classic not only provides us with another chance to seal our dominance as the ‘Home of Champions’ but also showcases our growing capabilities in sports tourism, reaping the benefits that come from hosting big sporting events,” added Mr Mohamed.