The Kip Keino Classic happened on May 7, 2022. It was a fantastic meet with some world-leading marks, huge fan participation, and some hometown heroes! Here are my deep thoughts, ten days post-meet!
A special note of thanks to the media team at the KIP KEINO CLASSIC, they provided superb photos and many, allowing global media to get the word out about the Continental Tour gold meeting. I am still shocked that some meets, much larger than the KIP KEINO CLASSIC send a few photos, or none at all, to global media. If one wants to promote the sport, and one knows that major newspapers and magazines have little or no money for photos and sports content, then, why not make the smart decision and provide global media some support?
The KIP KEINO CLASSIC lived up to the legacy of the great Kenyan athlete. As the pandemic seems to be lessening, the fans alone made the meet something that the athletes loved, and the great weather and the meet lived up to the hype (well most of it).
- The highlight of the meet, for Kenyans, was a sprinter. Ferdinand Omanyala just did it. The top sprinter in Kenya, who ran a fine 9.77 for the 100m, which he ran at the previous KIP KEINO CLASSIC, on 18 September 2021, taking second to Trayvon Bromel. This year, Marcel Jacobs, Fred Kerley and Ferdinand Omanyala were promoted to appear. Marcel Jacobs, the 2022 World Indoor Champ, the 2021 Olympic champ and the 2021 European Indoor Champ, came down with the stomach flu and had to withdraw. This is one of those moments where the great ones rise to the top. Ferdinand Omanyala took control and held off Fred Kerley, fresh off a 19.80 run for 200 meters, with Omanyala running WL 9.85 and Kerley running 9.92. It was a brilliant race, and it begs the question, as Deji Ogeyingbo, our Nigerian writer, noted, why is Ferdinand Omanyala not invited to the Nike Prefontaince Classic on 28 May?
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce demolished the 100m field, and the Kenyan fans loved her. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been on the world scene, winning medals, since 2008. She won the 100m in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. In 2016, she took bronze in the 100m, and in 2020, she took silver in the 100m. SAFP won medals in five of the last six World Championships, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2019 WC (all except in 2017). So we have let you know that this woman is, well, formidable. Christine Mboma was supposed to challenge her, unfortunately, Christine suffered an injury during the race.
- KIP KEINO CLASSIC delivered on the middle and long-distance races. The men’s 800m was won by Emmanuel Waynonyi, who delighted the Kenyan crowd with his 1:45.01. Abel Kipsang won the 1,500m in WL 3:31.01, dominating the field by four-plus seconds! On the women’s side, WL steeple by Norah Jeruto, now of Kazakstan, in 9:04.95, and WL 5000m by Girmawit Gebrizair of Ethiopia, who ran 14:49.97.
- KIP KEINO CLASSIC supported media very well. The local media team worked with writers live and remote. The team sent out good photos of the major events, and pictures of the fans, and provided us with video interviews of Fred Kerley, Marcel Jacobs and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. KIP KEINO CLASSIC did a much better job than meets much bigger and with more money. The key is this: If you want independent media to cover meets halfway across the world, then, support them. Listen to what they ask for. KIP KEINO CLASSIC media team did just that!