Nairobi — Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has said only 6,000 fans will be allowed into the Nyayo National Stadium for the Nairobi leg of the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour on October 3.
Amina says the decision is pegged on recommendations from the Ministry of Health who said only 20pc of the stadium can be filled to allow for easier adherence to COVID-19 containment measures including social distancing.
Athletics Kenya had hoped to have half the stadium full, but Amina says it will not be possible.
"We are in discussions with the Ministry of Health but I don't think it will be possible. That's too close," Amina said.
She added; "We hope to have 20pc of the sitting capacity. People will buy the tickets online and once we hit the 6,000 mark, the portal closes."
The Continental Gold Tour will be the first sporting event to be staged in the country since March when the COVID-19 pandemic paralysed the entire sporting landscape as the government put in measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
The Tour, christened the Kip Keino Classic was officially launched on Monday afternoon and will be the seventh and final in the re-jigged World Athletics Gold Tour calendar.
As at now, according to Athletics Kenya boss Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, close to 150 athletes from all over the world have registered. A provisional list is expected on Tuesday evening, just over a week before the highly anticipated event.
AK had hoped to have a mini-trials two weeks ago but the same was cancelled to allow final renovation works to be completed at the Nyayo Stadium.
"We will use the athletes' ranking system to select those who will compete in the event. Results from last year's World Championship, the Africa Games and the last national championship will be used to determine who gets invited for the event," said Tuwei.
Among Kenyan athletes already confirmed for the one-day event include former Commonwealth Games champion Mercy Cherono, national 100m record holder and former World Under-18 bronze medalist Mary Moraa.
"We will ensure that everything runs smoothly so that we guarantee the health of the spectators and the competitors as well. We are looking forward to showcasing Kenyan athletics talent to the entire world," Tuwei further stated.
CS Amina also affirmed; "We want to showcase our country to the whole world and also show that we can host a successful event, even as we look forward to bidding for the hosting of the World Championship in 2025."