After making remarkable progress to join elite high jumpers in the world, Kenyan Mathew Sawe has put the Nairobi Continental Tour slated for October 3 in his crosshairs and called on top athletes to grace the event, dubbed the Kip Keino Classic.
The 32-year-old Sawe, who scaled 2.21 meters on his way to become the first Kenyan to win gold at the African Championships in 2016 in Durban, South Africa and also entering the history books as the first country’s high jumper to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 said on Thursday he expects the top high jumper to grace the one-day meet on his home soil.
“I have stepped up my preparations and owing to the COVID-19 global shutdown, the Nairobi meeting will be my first competition this year and my wish is to see top elite athletes coming for the event in Nairobi and experience competing in Kenya,” Sawe, who spends most his training in Paris under the guidance of Frenchman Moussa Fall, told Xinhua.
Sawe, who started jumping while still a student at Itigo Secondary School in Kosirai in the expansive Rift Valley region, first represented Kenya at the African Athletics Championship in Porto Novo, Benin in 2012 where he won a bronze medal.
His podium finish caught the eye of the officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now renamed World Athletics, and he was selected to join their High Performance Training Centre in Dakar, Senegal.
“My wish is to improve my personal best, but this will be my first event of the season, so I don’t know what awaits me ahead but I’m promising impressive results,” said Sawe, who holds Kenya’s national record of 2.25m.
“Competing against the likes of Muraz Barshim at the highest level has been a blessing to me, I have gained enormous experience and confidence in the last two years competing in Diamond League meetings,” he said.