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US Ambassador tours Eliud Kipchoge’s training camp

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BERNARD ROTICH

By BERNARD ROTICH
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The United States of America has pledged to continue collaborating with Kenyans to boost integrity in sports.

US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter lauded Kenyan athletes for their prowess which has earned the country global acclaim.

McCarter spoke when he paid a visit to Global Sports Communication training camp in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County that has produced renowned runners like Olympics marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor.

“This was a private visit and I wanted to come and have a feel of where the athletes train for them to be successful. We wanted to meet Kipchoge not because he is a world record holder but because he is a good example to the future generation,” said McCarter.

McCarter said Kipchoge good characteristics for a good leader in Kenya.

“Kipchoge is a good example to many and that is what is expected from a leader. Many youths are looking up to him and this shows one can achieve his/her dreams when you work hard,” he said.

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McCarter also said that he was keen to see the young upcoming athletes who train at the camp because they are the future champions.

“I took note of the young athletes because they are the future and I will be happy to see them doing well in future,” said the envoy.

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He added that the US government will from next year collaborate with Kenyan government to improve sports and the National Basketball Association will be visiting Kenya to check on the sport and see how they can help improve and make it better.

“Basketball is becoming a big sport in Kenya and we shall have an NBA delegation visiting Kenya and try to see if we can work together in terms of improving the sport,” he added.

Kipchoge on his part said that it was a privilege to host the Ambassador who wanted to see where he has been training with his colleagues.

“It’s an honour to receive the envoy in the camp because he wanted to know where we reside as we train and we are grateful,” said the Olympic champion.

McCarter later presented Kipchoge with a T-shirt, cap, notebook, an emblem and a bag.

The Ambassador arrived at the camp at around 2pm under tight security accompanied by his wife Victoria, and was received by Kipchoge, Eindhoven Marathon champion Laban Mutai, former World Half Marathon champion Sally Chepyego and Toronto Marathon champion Philemon Rono.

He was taken on tour by Kipchoge before planting a tree at the facility where many visitors have been doing so to help enhance the good forest cover around the scenic camp.

The Ambassador later joined Kipchoge and his training mates in a one-lap race at the camp.

Other athletes who graced the occasion included 1,500m Olympics champion Faith Chepng’etich, former 3,000m steeplechase world champion Hyvin Kiyeng, former two-time world champion in marathon Abel Kirui.

Kipchoge became the first human being to run the marathon under the mythical two hours during the 1:59 INEOS Challenge in Vienna, Austria in October. He finished the marathon in 1:59:40.

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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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