Absa pumps in Sh20 million for Kip Keino Classic

Absa Bank of Kenya Monday forked out Sh20 million in sponsorship for this year’s Kip Keino Classic with the bank pledging a long-term partnership for the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour event.

The one-day championship is set for Saturday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and has attracted 265 athletes including Tokyo Olympic and World Championships medallists.

Absa Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Awori disclosed that they have come on board to partner with the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya to host the Kip Keino Classic because of the event's huge potential for growth. Awori explained that Kenya has shown capacity to host major sporting events like the World Under-20 Athletics Championships, Kenya Open Golf Championships, Savannah Classic Golf Championships and World Rally Championship Safari Rally this year.

Awori , who was speaking during their sponsorship cheque presentation and the event’s official launch at Ole Sereni Hotel, Nairobi, said that the event has affirmed its status by attracting some of the world’s top athletes.In attendance were policy advisor at the office of the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Gabriel Warigi, Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei, Kip Keino Classic Tour director, Barnaba Korir and World Under-20 CEO, Mike Rabar.

The Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amina Mohamed, who had other engagements, addressed the session via zoom.

The 800m Olympian Mary Moraa and World Under-20 1,500m champion Vincent Keter graced the occasion too.

“This money will go towards making the competition a success and give our athletes a chance to compete against the world on home soil,” said Awori, adding that their partnership with Athletics Kenya and the Ministry of Sports is key in boosting sports tourism and promoting the country as a great destination.

Asked how long the partnership will last with the bank having supported Kenya Open Golf Championships for a decade among other sports, Awori said: “What this space!”

Noting Team Kenya’s astute shows at the just concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2021 World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Awori paid tribute to the athletes for performing under challenging circumstances.

“This year, we have been greatly inspired by our athletes, who have continued to put out great performances despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic,” Awori said.

“They have worked hard amidst the disruptions and difficulties occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and still gone on to win medals.”

Kenya collected 10 medals; four gold, four silver and two bronze medals from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The country also retained the overall title at the 2021 World Under-20 Championships, having topped the medal standing with 16 medals; eight gold, one silver and seven bronze.

Awori also took time to recognise the government for its incredible achievements, under the focused leadership of our Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. 

“These competitions continue to raise the profile of our sports sector on international platforms and promote sports tourism,” said Awori.

Tuwei promised a world class event as he took his time to welcome the visitors for the championship.



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