Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei says over 10,000 spectators are expected to congregate for Saturday’s Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour at Lobo village in Eldoret.
Tuwei said the event continues to ramp up interest among many and expects this year’s number of fans to exceed those who spectated at the first edition of this prestigious World Cross Country Tour Gold.
“According to the reports that we have received, there were approximately 7000 spectators who were present at last year’s event. This year, I am sure we will surpass that number and clock more than 10,000 people,” Tuwei said.
The Sirikwa Classic has thus far attracted hundreds of athletes from Kenya and other countries, such as Bahrain, Great Britain, Sweden, Slovenia, Estonia, Qatar and Ukraine, among others.
The first edition, named Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour, was held at the same venue in February last year and was named in honour of the 2015 World Cross Country champion who became the second-youngest winner of the senior women’s cross country title.
Tuwei further urged residents of Eldoret and its environs to embrace the event as their own and troop to the venue in their numbers.
“I would like to urge those from around here to come and support us…come in your numbers. Let us work together to make the Sirikwa Classic bigger and better because you never know…it might just become more international than it is now,” he said.
Entrance to the one-day event, which will feature six categories of competition, will be free for all spectators.
The AK boss further spoke of the perks of holding such a world-class event on Kenyan soil for the country’s athletes.
“A lot of times when our athletes go to compete abroad, they are awarded cash prizes when they win. This time, we are giving them an opportunity to make that money here at home and stay with it. Many times, when they win abroad, a substantial part of their earnings is always subjected to income tax,” Tuwei noted.
The media launch for the Sirikwa Classic was undertaken this past Friday with Uasin Gishu governor Jonathan Bii, among other top AK officials and organisers of the event, in attendance.