Kenya to bid for 2029 World Athletics show


Kenya targeting 2029 World Athletics Image: Kasarani Stadium, Endesia94, CC BY-SA 4.0

Kenya has revealed plans to bid for the 2029 World Athletics Championships after missing out on the 2025 hosting rights last year.

‘inside the games’ stated that Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba has confirmed Kenya’s intent to become the first African nation to stage the event as the country looks to play host in six years’ time.

The World Athletics Championships (until 2019 known as the World Championships in Athletics) are a biennial athletics competition organized by World Athletics (formerly IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federations). Alongside the Olympic Games, they represent the highest level championships of senior international outdoor athletics competition for track and field athletics globally, including marathon running and race walking. Separate World Championships are held by World Athletics for certain other outdoor events, including cross-country running and half-marathon, as well as indoor and age-group championships.

‘inside the games’ further stated that Namwamba’s announcement came during the World Athletics President Sebastian Coe’s visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi recently.

Said Namwamba, “Having lost the bid for 2025, we will prepare for 2029 and we believe we will be in a very strong position to put in a compelling bid. We will be banking on the goodwill from World Athletics (the international governing body for the sport of athletics). We will come up with a much stronger bid.”

Nairobi was among four bidders for the 2025 World Athletics Championships with the Japanese capital Tokyo securing the event in July 2022.

Speaking at the time of the decision, Coe cited concerns over the Moi International Sports Centre as a reason why the Kenyan capital lost out to Tokyo.

The 60,000-capacity Moi International Sports Centre is a multipurpose stadium in Kasarani, Kenya. It was built in 1987 for the All-Africa Games held in Nairobi.

The venue in Kasarani hosted the 2020 World Athletics Under-20 Championships and has also staged the Kip Keino Classic, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, in the past two years.

Said Coe in July, “There were challenges around the stadium which would have needed a great deal of refurbishment and that was the concern expressed by the [World Athletics] Council about the timeframe and the quantum of resource that would be needed in order to do that. I have spoken to the Kenyan Athletics Association, and they know that I am fully committed to helping them or any other African country stage a World Championship in the foreseeable future.”

Only the United States has won more medals than Kenya at the World Athletics Championships.

Kenya has claimed 62 gold, 55 silver and 44 bronze medals with much of their success coming over the long-distance races.

Coe visited Nairobi where he met the President of Kenya William Ruto and Namwamba as well as representatives from Athletics Kenya and anti-doping authorities and several athletes.

There were fears that Athletics Kenya would be banned by the World Athletics following a spate of positive doping cases.

However, the governing body evaded a lengthy ban after the Kenyan Government acted promptly, committing $25 million (£20.5 million/€23.7 million) to fight doping.

According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), Kenya has 54 athletes serving bans – the third most behind Russia with 92 and India with 65.

Kenya is one of seven ‘Category A’ nations deemed by the AIU to have the highest doping risk and threaten the overall integrity of the sport.

Diana Kipyokei and Lawrence Cherono, both former Boston Marathon winners, are among the high-profile Kenyan athletes currently banned.

Last year’s delayed World Athletics Championships was staged in Eugene in the United States.

The Hungarian capital Budapest is set to host this year’s edition before Tokyo stages the event in two years’ time.

The Athletics Integrity Unit was founded by the International Association of Athletics Federations in April 2017 to combat doping in the sport of athletics. The unit functions fully independently of the IAAF. It is currently led by Brett Clothier.

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