Kenya: Legendary Keino Happy to Have Nairobi Meeting Named After Him

Legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino has said it is a great honour for organisers of Nairobi Meeting to name the opening leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour after him.

On Tuesday, race director, Barnaba Korir announced that organisers had named the meeting 'Kip Keino Classic'. The race will be held on September 26.

"It's a great feeling to be honoured when someone is still alive. May the good God bless Kenya and may the good Lord bless our sportsmen and women," Keino said in a telephone interview from Eldoret Wednesday.

The legendary athlete said he is keen to attend the opening ceremony of the race.

He has also advised local sportsmen to keep safe and to observe healthy habits during training in view of Covid-19 pandemic, saying that good health surpasses everything else.

He remembered with nostalgia when he, the late Naftali Temu and Amos Biwott each handed Kenya her first victory in their specialties at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Korir noted that during the Kip Keino Classic, the 10,000 metres race will also be named after the late Temu, who remains the only Kenyan to have won the 10,000m title at the Olympics.

"Temu started the medals haul in 10,000m then Biwott continued it by winning the 3,000m steeplechase gold before I wrapped up with victory in 1,500m," said Keino, who beat World record holder Jim Ryun, who struggled to adapt to Mexico City's altitude in the metric mile final.

"Remember I was the first African to run a mile under four minutes in 1965 just after we had got independence," said the 80-year-old Keino, who is a former National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) president.

Kipchoge, who has personal best of 3min, 34.91 sec in 1,500m and 3:53.1 in the one-mile race, noted that Kenya has enormous talent and is capable of winning back the 10,000m title at the Olympics.

"This is something that is possible but only if we plan well in training. Coaches, Athletics Kenya and the probable athletes need to sit down and plan," Keino said. "Ethiopia have done that and I like their unity, which is what is lacking in Kenya."

Kipchoge also waded into the rising doping cases in the country and called on athletes to strive to run clean and train well.

"Kenya has enormous talent with great weather and food that favour us. Why people resort to short cuts beats me," said Keino, who cited the lure to get rich quickly as a possible reason why athletes cheat.

"Let them know these illegal substances will eventually take a toll on them," said Keino, who called on the government and Athletics Kenya to jealously guard upcoming and talented athletes from rogue managers and coaches out to lure them to their doping circles.

"I am sure we can produce more Keinos, Paul Tergats and Eliud Kipchoges if we nurture and mentor our

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