Kipchoge ‘Kip’ Keino who visited Sri Lanka recently to evaluate the country’s possibilities of hosting the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Hambantota took time to take part at a press conference which had no relativity to his cause of the visit at all.
But in the capacity of the Chairman of Kenyan Olympic Committee and as a two-time former Olympic gold medalist Keino expressed his delight at the pace Sri Lanka is moving to the top in the field of sports.
“I came to see what Sri Lanka can offer at Commonwealth Games in 2018. What I saw here is a nation very rich with humanity, culture and great hospitality. I also saw a country with great potential in the field of sports. There are talented athletes in this country who are eager to move up to the global arena and what they need is exposure. The Colombo Marathon conducted by Lanka SportsReisen (LSR) is such a great event with a lot of global appeal,” Keino addressing the reporters in Colombo said.
Keino who represented Kenya at middle and long distance running won two gold and two silver medals at Olympics. He won a gold in 1500 meters and a silver in 5000 meters at Mexico City in 1968 and claimed a gold in 3000 meters steeplechase and a silver in 1500 meters at the famous Munich Olympics in 1972. Keino later turned out to be an inspiration for the future generation of long distance runners where Kenya is famed for at present.
Keino along with Frank Appiah of Ghana Olympic Committee completed their week-long visit to Sri Lanka with the press conference hosted by Lanka SportsReisen in connection to the 11th Colombo Marathon which is set to take off on October 2 from Torrington Square at 6.00a.m.
The Colombo Marathon this year has already attracted 12 countries and will feature more than 2000 runners including over 100 foreigners. This marathon is organized with the aim of drawing similarities with other marathons which are conducted after the city names. The marathon is run from Colombo and will end at the tourism zone of Negombo. Last year the first three places of the main marathon was won by Kenyans.
The winners of the main race are set to receive handsome cash awards in addition to air tickets provided by the sponsor SriLankan Airlines. The top ten finishers including the winners, runner-up and third place of the men and women categories will receive cash prizes. The first place will receive US$ 2500 while US$ 1500 and US$ 1000 await the runner-up and third place of the men's and women's categories. Apart from the full marathon which lengths over 42 kilometers, a half marathon and fun runs of five and ten kilometers will take place during the same course.
“Anyone can dedicate a fun run for any worthy purpose as the entire event is organized for charity. We turned this into a non-profit event after the name changed from the original name, LSR Marathon to its current name. The entire course is run along with water and it is being held to meet the international standards,” said the Chairman of LSR, Thilak Weerasinghe.
The Colombo Marathon is organized by Lanka Sportreizen in association with Sri Lanka Tourism, SriLankan Airlines, Ministry of Sports, Athletic Association of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Education, Municipal Councils of Colombo and Negombo.