Veteran Makwala ready for Absa Kip Keino Classic 200m challenge

Veteran Makwala ready for Absa Kip Keino Classic 200m challenge

Fred Kerley on his way to a 200m win at the 2021 Continental Tour Gold meeting in Nairobi (© Stafford Ondego)

Nairobi, April 24, 2023

Botswana's Isaac Makwala says he's ready to take on the 200 metres challenge at this year's Absa Kip Keino Classic to be held at the Moi International Sports Centre on May 13, hoping to improve from his third-place finish last year.

The 37-year-old 2018 Commonwealth Games 400 metres champion will face a stiff challenge in his bid to bring the title to Africa from American Kyree King, a former collegiate champion, and Aaron Brown, a member of Canada's 4x100m gold medal winning team at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

Makwala won the Africa 400 metres title twice in 2012 and 2014 and has represented Botswana at the World Athletics Championships a record five times (in 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2017).

The decorated Makwala was in the Botswana relay team that won a bronze medal in the 4x400 metres relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games and a silver at the 2017 World Relays Championship. He recorded the fastest ever one-day double over the 200m and 400m in Madrid, Spain, in 2017.

Speaking in Gaborone, Botswana, Makwala said his training has been good and he looks forward to the Nairobi date.

"My preparations have been going on well and so on the 13th of May I will be ready for the Nairobi challenge," Makwala said.

"Besides Makwala and American Kyree King and Canada's Aaron Brown, we are soon confirming other exciting names for the 200 metres and indeed other events at the Absa Kip Keino Classic," Barnabas Korir, the Absa Kip Keino Classic Meeting Director, said on Monday.

At last year's Absa Kip Keino Classic, Makwala finished third (20.31 seconds) behind winner Brown (20.05) and King (20.18) and will be looking to upstage the pair on May 13.

Already, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the third-fastest female sprinter of all time, has confirmed her attendance at this year's Absa Kip Keino Classic on May 13.

The three-time Olympic sprints champion and holder of 10 world titles is regarded by many as the best female sprinter of all time.

"I will be in Nairobi on May 13 for the Kip Keino Classic and I’ll be racing over the 100 metres," the 36-year-old star said. "Last year was awesome! Fantastic!… The stadium was filled with so much excitement and noise and crowds and music, and it was so much fun.

About the Absa Kip Keino Classic:

The Absa Kip Keino Classic is the third round of the 2023 World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series of global one-day track and field meetings. It is named after pioneer Kenyan Olympic champion Kipchoge Keino and is held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.