Jan 12, 2011-Barely a year after successfully staging the Continental championships, Athletics Kenya intends to host a star-studded cast during the African Confederation Permit meeting in Nairobi in May.
Organisers of the Nairobi meet, which returns after a two-year hiatus, are hoping to invite top African sprinters and long distance runners to event scheduled for the Nyayo National Stadium.
AK Secretary General David Okeyo who is also the Vice President of the CAA said they were already in talks with a title sponsor to foot part of the Ksh.80m budget ($980,000).
“The money CAA gives us is only for organisation so we need to raise more money for the prize money, cost of travel and accommodation for the invited athletes.”
Kenya last hosted an AAC meeting in 2008, which attracted top Nigerian sprinter Olusoji Fasuba and South African hurdler Louis Van Zyl.
Okeyo has his eyes set on attracting the best sprinters from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana as well as the best distance runners from the horn of Africa.
Said Okeyo: “We want to hold a memorable meet, so we are targeting the cream de la cream. We are thinking of bringing Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to Nairobi. This is only possible if you have the money.”
The one day meet which is similar to the IAAF grand Prix meetings will be used to help Kenyan athletes attain qualifying standards for the August World Athletics Championships in Korea and the All African Games in September.
Meanwhile the Athletics is facing a selection problem on how to pick athletes for the World and African cross-country championships.
AK plans to use the trials on February 19, at the Uhuru Gardens to select both teams but the body is yet come up with the best criteria to pick teams for the African championships in South Africa on March 12 and the world event a week later in Spain.
‘We are hoping to finalise on the mode of selection with the coaches next week. Because we want to select strong squads for both events during the trials,” explained Okeyo.
AK could be mulling over its selection options on the course but they are not limited on resources, after National Bank of Kenya boosted their kitty with a Ksh.30m sponsorship on Wednesday.
“With this kind of sponsorship we will be very comfortable holding all our events this season and paying athletes allowances and stipends,” noted AK treasurer Joseph Kinyua.
AK hopes to use part of the money to fund the training and participation of their sprinters and field athletes’ locally and internationally.