Lotto Foundation bets on Cross Country

By ronnie evans
Feb 04, 2017
  • This year’s event will not feature individual and foreign entrants as it will not double up as an IAAF Permit meeting. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Athletics Kenya (AK) has received a major boost in its preparations for this year’s National Cross Country Championship after sports gaming franchise Lotto Foundation pumped in Ksh.12 million towards the event slated for February 18 at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.

Jackson Tuwei, the AK president hailed the sponsorship during a ceremony held at Riadha House on Friday. He assured the money will be put to good use.

This is in light of quashing a dark veil of misappropriation of funds that has many a times rocked sports federations during events.

“We are very grateful to Lotto Foundation for the sponsorship and promise that we will account for every cent. We are also asking our fans to come and cheer our teams not only at Uhuru Gardens but also during the IAAF World Championships in Kampala on March 26,” he said.

It was revealed that unlike past editions, this year’s event will not feature individual and foreign entrants as it will not double up as an IAAF Permit meeting. Moreover, no wild cards will be issued so competitors will square it out for slots based on merit.

The senior men and women’s races together with the under-20 category will have six athletes representing Kenya. The relay races will be contested for the first time at the World Cross Country Championships and four slots are up for grabs.

Passionate appeal

Tuwei also said that a total of 38 athletes will be selected to represent Kenya at the global showpiece and that Kigari Teachers College will be the camp venue for the team as from February 22. He made a passionate appeal to fans to support the athletes during the competition.

Lotto Foundation chairman Brian Waluchio praised sportsmen and women for their crucial role in promoting Kenya as a country during competitions. “We take pride in being associated with athletics and shall continue to fulfill our role of sponsoring sports and talent development,” he concluded.

This partnership has been a timely reprieve for AK after suffering a low blow following the withdrawal of the New Zealand from participating in the IAAF World Under-18 Championships to be held in Nairobi from July 12-16.

In a statement sent to IAAF on Friday, New Zealand took the step citing security concerns as the main reason for the withdrawal. The country becomes the fifth to publicly come out and pull the plug on its participation following Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland.

This will be the last event that IAAF will hold in this category as the Local Organizing Committee targets about 150 countries to participate.