Connect with us

Sports

Why African Diamond League is long overdue

Published

on

Loading...
AYUMBA AYODI

By AYUMBA AYODI
More by this Author

BERNARD ROTICH

By BERNARD ROTICH
More by this Author

There is need for the regional countries and Africa to come up with its own international meetings that will cater for the need of athletes, Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem Tikea has said.

Alem said that Africa has the capability and resources to host major events that can be an envy to the rest of the world and challenged Athletics Kenya, Athletics Ethiopia and the Confederation of Africa Athletics to come out of their comfort zone.

These sentiments received a strong backing from Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago and his Nandi counterpart Stephen Arap Sang, who called on Kenya and Ethiopia to engage in exchange programs for athletes.

Alem, Mandago and Sang were speaking during the official opening of the Athletics Kenya Athletes’ Conference at Sirikwa Hotel on Friday. The four-day conference ends on Saturday.

The sentiments come after World Athletics and Diamond League scrapped several races including 10,000m, 5,000m, 3,000m steeplechase and 200m from real time coverage during the 2020 season.

Loading...

Alem, who represented EA president Deratu Tule and legendary athlete Haile Gebrselassie, described Kenya and Ethiopia as the beauty of international athletics. “I wonder how the world would contemplate not to have marathon, 10,000m, 5,000m and steeplechase,” said Alem. “Besides doping, scrapping of these events is the biggest threat to Kenya and Ethiopia’s heritage in athletics.”

Advertisement

Alem said he is happy that Kenya, Ethiopia and other African countries have strongly protested to World Athletics saying the changes will kill athletics.

Alem said regional athletes don’t see run for entertainment, they see athletics as a culture and a language of communication. “We now have a common challenge with what will put our heritage and culture at risk,” said Alem. “The fight against doping should not just focus on athletes but also the support system that should face the full force of the law.”

Alem said he would like to see athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia and other regional and African counties participate in races organised within. “Our youth are crazy about running hence they should start here before venturing out. That’s is why I want to see Kenya athletes running in Ethiopia and Uganda and vice versa,” said Alem.

Mandago said Africa countries should take Diamond League’s move as a blessing by taking the initiative to host a meeting featuring events that have been left out.

“Africa has the resources and capacity to stage lucrative athletics meetings comprising events that have been left out. It will be a good opportunity to market Africa. We must own the event and we shall see the rest of the world flocking to Africa,” said Mandago.

Sang said having major athletics events in Africa to rival the Diamond League will create an opportunity for Africa countries to work together.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

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.

Loading...

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

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

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.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

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.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

Published

on

Loading...
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

Continue Reading

Sports

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

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Loading...

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.

Advertisement

More to follow

Loading...
Continue Reading

Trending