Stadium Profile

Nyayo National Stadium: Fresh venue for ‘Kip Keino Classic’

Initially penciled as the first stop of the inaugural 2020 World Athletics Continental Tour circuit on 2nd of May, Nairobi’s Kip Keino Classic has been rescheduled for 26th September, 2020 owing to interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organisers have been working round the clock to put final touches on the Nyayo National Stadium, perhaps Kenya’s most loved track and field venue.

The Kip Keino Classic will be the first major sports competition to be held at the newly refurbished stadium that has benefited from a complete makeover to elevate it to contemporary standards.

From the beautifully done changing rooms, to the freshly-installed spectator seats bedecked in the famous red, black and green Kenyan colours, a new Media Centre and Tribune, the 30,000 capacity arena will excite athletes and fans alike.

Located just 14 kilometres from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – Kenya’s main airport – along the main Uhuru Highway, foreign athletes and spectators alike can pop in even before they check into their hotels, simply due to it’s convenient address.

Athletics Kenya’s headquarters at Riadha House are adjacent to the stadium, making it a most convenient venue, logistically speaking.


Named in honour of the “Nyayo” philosophy (peace love, unity) by Kenya’s second President, the late Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, the stadium was constructed in the early 1980s as one of the signature venues for the 1987 Fourth All Africa Games hosted in Nairobi.

The stadium also hosted the 2010 African Athletics Championships with continental stars, such as Botswana’s Amantle Montsho and Isaac Makwala, Nigeria’s Blessings Okagbare, Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenya’s David Rudisha among the five-star athletes lighting up the track.

Kenya’s former javelin world champion Julius Yego is among athletes who introduced themselves to the athletics world at the Nyayo National Stadium. “The Nyayo National Stadium has always been good to me,” reflects Yego.

“My competitions at the stadium have both been high level and rewarding, from my winning a bronze medal to breaking a national record. Its upgrade ahead of the Kip Keino Classic is so pleasing. I am looking forward to the Continental Tour. I just want to compete there again.” (The men’s javelin is not on the core events programme of the Nairobi Continental Tour leg, but will be organised as a discretionary event).

The stadium has for four decades been an iconic hunting ground for Kenyan athletes seeking tickets to major competitions like the Olympic Games and World Athletics Championships as both Athletics Kenya and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya find it the preferred venue for their trials for these competitions.

“It’s a relatively fast track and the fans usually feel so close to the action,” explains world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge who honed his track skills as a 5,000 metres runner in this edifice.

Kipchoge went on to win the world 5,000m title at the Stade de France in Paris in 2003.

“I have a lot of memories from that stadium… I vividly remember how tough the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ 5,000m trials were, and the joy after I went on to win a silver medal (in Beijing) for my country.

“It will be amazing to welcome the world of running into our stadium.”

A brand new Mondo synthetic track will be laid at the stadium in time for the Kip Keino Classic.

Lynne Wachira for Kip Keino Classic