Athletes take part in a past Iren Road Race. The race categories are 10kms, 2kms fun race for seniors, and 2kms race for children www.businesstoday.co.ke
Athletes take part in a past Iren Road Race. The race categories are 10kms, 2kms fun race for seniors, and 2kms race for children. [Photo/Business Today/Courtesy]

Safaricom has announced a Ksh 1.3 million sponsorship for the Iten 10km road race set to take place this Sunday in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

More than 400 athletes are expected to participate in the annual race including defending champion Valary Aiyabei, who is also the current Eldoret City Marathon champion.

“The Safaricom Iten Road Race has become one of the most famous races not just in Elgeyo Marakwet but all over the country because it attracts some of the best athletes from across the nation. We expect a good turnout for both the 10km and 2km categories,” said Kibet Biwott, Race Director.

The race will be flagged off at Bugar and end at Iten grounds with this year’s winners set to receive Ksh 50,000, with second and third placed finishers pocketing Ksh 40, 000 and Ksh 30, 000 respectively.

“It’s such a joy to see great champions such as defending champion Aiyabei, who is a former Barcelona marathon winner and Prague half marathon champion Joan Chelimo who were discovered at this race go on to represent Kenya at international meets. Through our vision of Transforming Live we seek to continuously support the sports fraternity in discovering grassroots talent,” said Michael Joseph, CEO-Safaricom.

Elgeyo Marakwet County, which hosts Iten town, has long been known as the home of champions and is now also renowned as a top international training centre for elite runners from all over the world.

The race categories are 10kms, 2kms fun race for seniors, and 2kms race for children.

Last year, Aiyabei finished ahead of  Lucy Cheruiyot, the 2016 Madoka half marathon, who clocked 33:27.2 before Lydia Njeri completing the podium in 33:34.8.

Nursing the injury he sustained during Kabarak half marathon, Abraham  Kiptum won the men race in 28:39.0 trouncing Daniel Kipchumba (29:08.1) Samuel Chebolei (29:09.9).

Meanwhile, betting firm Odibets has partnered with Atotos Sports Management teams to bring in renowned European football scouts that will identify talent in tomorrow’s Champions of Champions grass roots football tournament at Camp Toyoyo.

The European scouts have previously discovered key football talent in the country including former Harambee Stars midfielder McDonald Mariga and Robert Mambo. They will identify talent from the tournament who will then proceed to Europe for further training later on in the year.

Eight teams that will participate in tomorrow’s Champions of Champions tournament include Chapa Dimba All-Stars, Kariobangi Sharks U 20, Koth Biro All-Stars, Acacoro U20, Eastleigh Youth, Liberty U20, Kriss Darlin All-Stars and Roya Wanyama All-Stars.

According to the organiser and former Harambee Stars Coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, this is a great opportunity to identify and expose raw talent to the global stage.

“We have done this before, and we still believe that we have much more local talent to showcase through this tournament. We hope that through this soccer clash, we will encourage our youth to be more productive with their lives and perhaps venture into football as a full-time career”, he said.

The tournament which ran on Friday with top winners being crowned and awarded with various cash prizes and the honor of being the ‘Champion of Champions’.

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