Friday, 28 September 2007
It's been hyped and run throughout the media for sometime now. It's a fresh idea that's true and its also featuring a main discipline in sports for Kenyans to identify with. This is the Tusker Athletics International Meet.
A brainchild of one Martin Keino-part founder of Keino Sports Marketing-and Tusker brand, this is the 3rd year it's being held. This time though it will have a different timing with the events starting in the afternoon spilling over to the early evening, modelling it around more established Grand Prix events in Europe. There were to be star attractions but the last week has seen a flurry of withdrawals which has dimmed the shine on the event.
OK, having met Martin a couple of times, I believe he has what it takes to bring in professionalism in a sport that has seen leadership cartels ( does this sound familiar....Kenyan politics ?). He has also over the years built a good rapport with athletes getting them to focus not just on the professional aspects of their careers but also the future after retiring from the sport. Having been mentored by one of Kenya's famous athletes (and also fathered) by Kipchoge Keino, it goes without saying that he will be making more headlines as we go along.
There are certain qualms though which I think they would have addressed if they were wishing to attract more fans for the event;
- crowd-involving events- for example, in between the short races, they can have skits and also promotion drives by the event's sponsor,
- special events- what am I talking about? We can have a 'celebrity 100m or 4x100m relay where you invite Kenya's prominent faces be it in the media,other sports disciplines or even politicians. Who knows with elections around the corner some of these guys could use some free publicity to get by.
-celebrated personalities-wouldn't it be fair to reward some of our outstanding sportsmen and women at such an arena ? It would also be fair to have more African athletes involved, like the Ethiopians.
All in all the direction it's headed is good, the hype somewhat misplaced but all the same let's hope to pop in and