As I watched – on TV- runners running past the finish line of a 10K road race in Gqeberha, South Africa, this past weekend, I saw a woman clad in a yellow jersey come towards the screen in the company of two others. The commentator asked her to discuss the race, and she was ecstatic to have finished it. She fought back the tears of joy, and the commentator had to momentarily take away the microphone for her to regain composure before she could explain that the two companions were her sister and son, who she had introduced to running, and she was happy that both of them also finish the race.
The scene clearly captured the love for running, both competitively and recreationally, continuing to grow as it is shared and experienced across the African continent. More athletic events continue to come up, and the common people are getting converted into sports fans and athletes at a good rate.
The Botswana Golden Grand Prix meeting scheduled for 29th April will become Africa’s second World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event. The first to happen in Africa was the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. It will be happening for the fourth time on 13th May.
There has also been a rise in the number of athletic meets turning into World Athletics level events, including some of the Athletics Kenya weekend meetings here in Kenya.
More athletic fans and events continue to attract more companies into the sport, who are happy to be associated with athletics.
Like the TCS continues to sponsor more marathons across the world, and the Bank of America continues to do so in the US, the Absa Bank continues to make a significant mark in the world of athletics in Africa.
Besides being the lead sponsor for the Kip Keino Classic event, the bank also sponsors the Absa Run Your City Series, which consists of 10K races across five cities in South Africa. These are the Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K (launched in 2023), Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K (launched in 2015), the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K (launched in 2017), Absa RUN YOUR CITY TSHWANE 10K (launched in 2023) and the Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K (launched in 2016).
Absa is also the main sponsor of the Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour event in Eldoret early this year and the inaugural Nairobi City Marathon in May last year in Nairobi.
Absa operates in fourteen countries. The Group owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Absa Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda, and Zambia and has insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Absa also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria and securities entities in the United Kingdom and the United States.
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