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Countdown begins for Nairobi’s Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – The countdown has commenced as Nairobi prepares to host a round of the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series on 26 September.

Kenyan Olympic legend Kipchoge Keino has appreciated the organisers’ gesture in naming the Nairobi meeting the “Kip Keino Classic” in his honour, with the traditional Kenyan hospitality awaiting athletes, fans, officials and the media.

Keino is among the most respected Kenyan athletes of all time, his Olympic gold medals in Mexico 1968 (3:34.91 seconds for the 1500m) and Munich 1972 (8:23.64 in the 3000m steeplechase) inspiring subsequent domination by Kenyan runners at the Olympic Games, World Championships and other major meets.

“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, 80, acknowledged.

What’s more, the Kip Keino Classic will be hosted in Nairobi’s freshly refurbished Nyayo National Stadium, Kenya’s most popular stadium due to its ambience and proximity to the capital Nairobi’s central business district.

Brand new seats have been fitted, a media centre and tribune built from scratch and the installation of two electronic screens in the stadium is nearing completion in a project personally supervised by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

The Kip Keino Classic’s Local Organising Committee is headed by Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei with the federations executive committee member, Barnabas Korir, the Meet Director.

Nairobi will also host The World Athletics U20 Championships that were initially programmed for 7-12 July, but which have now been rescheduled to a yet-to-be-confirmed date.

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With Kenya keeping an eye on the coronavirus pandemic, the 30,000-seat Nyayo National Stadium had a feel of some action under cautious conditions on 11 June 11 it hosted the Kenyan section of the “Impossible Games.”

The highlight was the 2000m Maurie Plant Memorial virtual contest between Kenya’s Team Cheruiyot and Norway’s Team Ingebrigtsen with the latter running at Oslo’s Bislett Stadium.

Team Ingebrigstens – led by the three Ingebrigtsen brothers, Jakob, Filip and Henrik – triumphed in the duel over a strong Kenyan quintet led by world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot and his predecessor Elijah Manang’oi.

Jakob led the Norwegian charge across the line in 4:50.01, beating British legend Steve Cram’s European record (4:51.39) set in 1985, with Cheruiyot leading the Kenyans across under atrocious Nairobi conditions in 5:03.05.

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It might have been just a “filler” for the scaled-down Bislett Games Diamond League meeting (due to the coronavirus pandemic), but Kenyan fans and athletes alike wish to see this group of athletes compete at the 26 September Kip Keino Classic.

And Cheruiyot himself has already thrown down the gauntlet.

“We want to invite them (Ingebrigstens) for training in Kenya and for the Continental Tour,” Cheruiyot reacted after the “Impossible Games.”

“We were all in great shape but such conditions don’t bring out the best.

“The track was windy and that made it difficult to move. Jakob and his teammates had good weather and their track was pretty fast and conducive.”

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Manang’oi, World 1500m champion in 2017 added, “It would be nice if they are to come and feel the altitude and weather conditions in Nairobi.

“It was rainy and the altitude is high. My body simply failed to move.”

That Kenyan fans and athletes are already in an upbeat mood, seeking revenge over the Norwegians, already makes up for an excellent build-up to what promises to be mouth-watering action at the 26 September Kip Keino Classic.

“We are leaving nothing to chance in organising what promises to be a spectacular Kip Keino Classic,” Meet Director Korir assured.

“Kenya is known for its hospitality and first class athletics organisational acumen which will, again, come into play on September 26.

“We thank World Athletics for giving Kenya and Nairobi this special honour of hosting a leg of the Continental Tour Series,” Korir, a former distance running star added.

On 6 July, President Kenyatta announced a phased reopening of the country after partial lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

As at 6 July, Kenya had recorded 8,068 Covid-19 cases with 2,414 recoveries and 164 deaths.

In the preceding week, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sport Amina Mohamed named an 18-strong focus group to look into the reopening of sports activities in the country, with their report expected to be presented on 10 July.

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While local air travel resumes on 15 July, international flights will be back from August 1 with schools and churches remaining closed and the country maintaining a nationwide 9pm to 4am curfew.

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Dominant Hamilton cruises to 85th win in Mercedes one-two

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SPIELBERG, Austria, Jul 12 – A dominant Lewis Hamilton secured his first win of the season and the 85th of his career with a perfectly-judged victory from pole position as Mercedes reeled off a one-two finish in Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.

The six-time champion bounced back from a disappointing display in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on the same Red Bull Ring circuit a week earlier with a consummate display.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the curtain-raising race, finished 13.7 seconds adrift in second to deliver first Mercedes one-two in Austria since 2015 with Max Verstappen in third.

The paddock seemed to be split again pre-race as some drivers were absent as Hamilton led the protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee.

“It’s great to be back up here and thanks to the team,” said Hamilton.

“This feels like it has been a long time coming after a difficult weekend last time.”

Bottas said he had enjoyed his battle with Max Verstappen.

“Starting fourth, this was damage limitation for me,” he said.

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“I tried, but we are just a bit too slow,” admitted Verstappen.

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Bottas leads the embryonic championship ahead of Hamilton with Lando Norris third.

Verstappen was slowed by slight car damage in the final stages, ahead of his team-mate Alex Albon, who defended stoutly to finish fourth.

Norris came home a remarkable fifth for McLaren after passing both of Racing Point’s pink Mercedes cars during a thrilling final lap, Sergio Perez taking sixth after starting from 17th on the grid, and Lance Stroll seventh.

Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for Renault, Carlos Sainz clocked fastest lap and finished ninth in the second McLaren and Daniil Kvyat 10th for Alpha Tauri.

Both Ferraris were eliminated after crashing together at Turn Three on the opening lap, Charles Leclerc apologising to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who is in his last season with the team, for his ill-judged dive down the inside that resulted in a disaster for the Italian team.

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‘I am sorry’, Leclerc after nightmare start causes double Ferrari retirement

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Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel last won the world championship in 2013 © POOL/AFP / Darko Bandic

Spielberg, Austria, Jul 12 – Ferrari’s nightmare start to the 2020 Formula One season continued on Sunday when Charles Leclerc collided with Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap of the Styrian Grand Prix.

The Monegasque attempted to push past his team-mate on the inside of Turn Three, but rode the kerbs and instead launched his vehicle into the rear of Vettel’s machine.

The impact severely damaged the rear of the four-time champion’s car, tearing off the rear wing and forcing him to pit and retire after a Safety Car had been deployed.

Leclerc pitted for repairs and continued, but he also pulled out once the action resumed – resulting in both men being out of the race before the start of the sixth lap.

“I am sorry and I apologise to Seb and I know it is not enough at times like this,” he told broadcaster Sky Sports.

“I hope I learn and come back stronger next race — it is a tough time for the team and they don’t need that — I put all thoughts of the team in a bin and I am sorry.

“I was too optimistic this move,” he added.

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Leclerc had started from 14th on the grid following a three-place penalty for an incident involving Daniil Kvyat’s Alpha Tauri in Saturday’s rain-swept qualifying.

Vettel started from 10th and was ahead on the opening lap when Leclerc launched his attack, an ill-judged move that ruined the race for both men.

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Four-time champion Vettel is in his final season with Ferrari after being told he is surplus to requirements next season and has made clear he was surprised and upset by the decision.

Both drivers have complained their SF1000 car this year is difficult to drive and lacks competitive pace.

The team brought a package of upgrades to the second race of the season, following last week’s disappointing showing, but team boss Mattia Binotto admitted on Saturday they had not been effective.

Leclerc finished a fortunate second at the season-opening Austrian contest when many of his rivals were penalised or retired, only 11 of the 20 starters finishing the race.

“There was nothing I could do,” said Vettel.

“There was not enough space on the track and that is why we collided.

“The car had felt a lot better, but we don’t know do we? We don’t have the answers”

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Covid-19: Kenya crosses 10,000 mark with 379 more infections

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By NATION TEAM

The Health ministry reported 379 more cases of the coronavirus in Kenya on Sunday, raising the case load to 10,105, about four months since the first case was reported.

The country’s first case of Covid-19 was announced on March 13 and later, the ministry projected that there would be 10,000 cases before the end of April. Dr Patrick Amoth, the acting director-general in the ministry, noted that this was the worst case scenario.

In a statement on Sunday, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe also announced that 49 more patients had been discharged from hospital. This raised the total number of recoveries to 2,881.

One more patient has died, raising the death toll to 185.

So far, the country has tested a total of 215,037 samples, including the 7,050 analysed in the last 24 hours.

Of the new patients, 376 were Kenyans and three foreigners. Two hundred and fifty three were male and 126 female whereas the youngest patient was two years old and the oldest 97.

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CASE DISTRIBUTION

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In terms of counties, Nairobi yet again recorded the largest number of infections – 209.

Then came Kiambu 49, Busia with 38, Migori with 19, Mombasa 16, Kajiado with 12 and Uasin Gishu with eight.

Lamu County accounted for six infections, Machakos and Nakuru five each, Narok, Wajir and Kisumu two each and Garissa, isiolo, Kericho, Nyamira, Nyeri and Trans Nzoia one each.

The capital city’s cases were in Kibra (52), Lang’ata (45), Kamukunji (28), Dagoretti North (17), Makadara (17), Embakasi Central (nine), (Embakasi East (eight) and Westlands (seven).

Dagoretti South, Embakasi West, Kasarani and Roysambu each had four cases; Ruaraka and Embakasi South two each and Mathare and Starehe one each.

In Kiambu, Ruiru had 16 case, Kiambu Town 15, Lari seven, Kikuyu four, Limuru and Thika two each and Gatundu South, Kabete and Kiambaa one each.

In Busia, the 38 cases were in Teso North (18), Matayos (15) and Teso South five.

OTHER COUNTIES

In Migori, Suna East and Kuria East each had seven cases while Kuria West had five; in Mombasa, Mvita had nine new patients, Jomvu four, Nyali two and Likoni one; in Kajiado, Kajiado East had seven new patients, Kajiado North three and Kajiado Central two, while all of Uasin-Gishu’s cases were in Turbo and Lamu’s in Lamu West.

In Machakos, Kathiani recorded three cases and Athi River two whereas in Nakuru, four new patients were in Naivasha and one in Nakuru West.

Kisumu’s cases were in Muhoroni and Nyando; Narok’s in Narok North, Wajir’s in Wajir East, Nyamira’s in Nyamira town, Nyeri’s in Kieni and Trans-Nzoia’s in Kiminini.

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