SEPTEMBER 14 - KIP KEINO (pictured), the godfather of Kenyan distance running, is due to arrive in Britain today to sign a deal for his country to set up a training base here before the 2012 London Olympics.
Keino, now the chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC), will sign the agreement with Bristol tomorrow at a special ceremony that will also be attended by Jonathan Edwards, the world triple jump record holder.
Edwards, the 2000 Olympic champion, was recently appointed as the deputy chairman of the London 2012 Nations and Regions Group, set-up to maximise the benefits of the Games to cities, towns and areas outside the capital.
He will be on hand to witness the first city in the UK to establish a formal agreement with an overseas National Olympic Committee.
Details of the deal were first reported on insidethegames in January 2007.
The agreement is being formalised under the banner of Bristol Kenya 2012, a charitable body which will also co-ordinate a range of sporting, cultural and commercial links under the direction of Bob Reeves, the director of sport, exercise & health at The University of Bristol.
Keino was made an honorary Doctor of Law by the University of Bristol last year in recogntion of his brilliant career which included becoming one of the first Kenyans to win an Olympic gold medal when he claimed the 1500 metres title at the 1968 Games in Mexico.
He added the gold medal in the 3,000m steeplecahse in Munich four years later and has been the inspiration for all of Kenya's runners that have since followed in his footsteps.
Kenya will arrive in Bristol on a high having won 14 medals in Beijing, including five gold, its best ever performance at the Games.
Reeves said: “We are delighted that Bristol is able to lead the Olympic legacy by offering our facilities and hospitality to our friends in Kenya.
"But the value in this partnership goes beyond helping to establish a pre-Games camp for their Olympic athletes.
“The successful 2012 bid was on the back of an appeal to and on behalf of young people, with a promise to put a smile on their faces.
"The real legacy therefore will be in our ability to engage with people across the world and to share ideas - before and after the Games.”
The focal point for the launch of the agreement will be Ashton Park School, which has been chosen because it has well-established links with the Inspirations School in the Mombasa following a visit in 2004 by a 17-strong team of teachers and pupils who built a playground, painted classrooms and taught children.
That is something that is close to Keino's heart as he and his wife, Phyllis, established a childrens' home and school for orphaned and abandoned children after his running career.
Two years later pupils at Ashton Park School returned to build two classrooms, a staffroom and other administration rooms; this year a team of 34 from Ashton Park have been helping to establish a sports hall and a running track.
Earlier this month the school became one of only 141 designated Specialist Sports Colleges in the UK, with extra funding for PE teachers and improved equipment and facilities.
Keino, who is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and was part of the Co-ordination Commission that oversaw the preparations for last month's Beijing Games, will be talking to pupils and staff during his visit tomorrow morning.
Keino said: “I am so pleased to be coming back to Bristol.
"I know our athletes will find it a welcoming place, with all the facilities they need to prepare for London 2012.
"We greatly value this partnership with Bristol which will have many other benefits - not only sporting and cultural, but educational and commercial.”