The second edition of the Kip Keino Classic received a major boost on Monday after Absa Kenya sponsored the event to a tune of Ksh 20 million.
The announcement was made during the official launch of the annual event that was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary of Sports Ambassador Amina Mohammed and graced by Athletics Kenya president Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei and Absa Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori.
Kenya will host the event for the second year running and will be held on Saturday, September 18 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Amina, who attended the event virtually, assured of the government's support towards this year's competition.
"We are very happy to host the second edition of Kip Keino Classic. We thank H.E the president for the support he has accorded us especially as we host global events. We are also hoping to host the Diamond League series in the future," Amina said.
Tuwei said the event presents yet another opportunity for Kenya to host a global showpiece less than a month after hosting a successful World Under-20 Championships.
"This will be a much bigger and more exciting event than last year's. So far we have registered 80 athletes in the national events while the discretionary and core events have attracted 185 athletes," said Tuwei.
On his part, Awori said they were keen to play a role as title sponsors of this year’s event in order to continue supporting young upcoming talent in track and field disciplines as well as promote Kenya as a tourist destination.
“With an investment of 20 million shillings, the money will go towards making the competition a success and give our athletes a chance to compete against the world on home soil. On the other hand, our partnership with Athletics Kenya and the Ministry of Sports will continue supporting sports tourism and promoting our country as a great destination,” Awori said.
Barnaba Korir, the meet director explained that the organisers are still in talks with the Kenyan authorities concerning the number of fans who will be allowed in Kasarani Stadium for the one-day meet.
“At the moment we are still in discussion on whether some fans will be allowed into Kasarani Stadium on Saturday," Korir said.
The event has attracted global stars with Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco being the first athlete to arrive in the country on Saturday.
More arrivals are expected this week including three-time world champion Justin Gatlin of the US and his compatriot Trayvon Bromell- the fastest man this year over the 100m.
Others are; Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai (Uganda), Olympic hammer throw champion Wojciech Nowicki (Poland) and Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma (Namibia).
Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon leads home-grown talent that will light up Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.