Kenyan athletes eye piece of world Challenge pie in Nanjing meeting
NAIROBI, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan athletes will have the chance to feel the tracks in Nanjing after the Chinese city replaced Madrid as part of the IAAF World Challenge circuit in 2019.
Nanjing will host the competition on May 21, and Kenya middle distance runners will be among a host of global stars that will arrive in China for the one day competition.
Nanjing was awarded the IAAF World Indoor Championships 2020 and will welcome the top global indoor track competition to its shores.
"I would love to run in Nanjing and see how its weather and track are like," said Olympic 5,000m silver medalist Helen Obiri on Tuesday.
"I love the World Indoor Championships and this will offer us a chance to rehearse on the competition."
World 800m bronze medalist Kipyegon Bett said China has emerged as a strong promoter of sports.
"China is building up in sports organization and their fans are supportive. I look forward to compete in Nanjing as part of the IAAF World Challenge Circuit," Bett said.
The IAAF announced the new changes in the calendar of the World Challenge circuit for 2019. Madrid will be no longer in the series and opted to be part of European meetings as Premium category event.
"The new meet will be Nanjing in China (site of next World Indoors 2020) scheduled with the Asian part of the calendar on May 21," said a statement from the IAAF.
The World Challenge circuit is a second-tier series of meetings that will take place in nine cities on three continents.
It is one cadre lower than the IAAF Diamond League, which has a lucrative prize pack and is run in four continents - Africa, Asia, Europe and Americas.
Nanjing, a city of more than eight million people, staged the 2014 Olympic Youth Games and will build a stadium specifically for the World Indoor Championships in the Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park. It will offer a permanent legacy as an athletics training center after the championships.
"I look forward to celebrating the very best of world athletics in 2020 in Nanjing," said IAAF president Sebastian Coe.
"The hosting of these championships will assist the development of an already established and growing culture of athletics in the country.