Kenya has a strong reputation for sports, and Nairobi is the center of the sporting scene. In particular, Kenya is well known for its world-class runners. Kenyan runners exploded onto the international scene during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games when three distance runners won gold medals, including Kipchoge " Kip " Keino, who beat the American favorite Jim Ryun in the 1500-meter race. Since 1968, Kenyans have dominated middle-and long-distance running at the international level. National track and cross-country meets are usually held at the national stadium or at the Ngong Race Course in Nairobi. These events traditionally produce a new group of world-class runners, ready to challenge their already-established peers.
The most popular sport in the country and the capital city is soccer. Nairobi has three large stadiums (Nyayo, City, and Kasarani) in which domestic league and international matches are played. Two clubs with large followings in Nairobi are AFC and Gor Mahia, which are both nationally popular clubs with home bases of support in western Kenya. Recently, a Nairobi-based team, Mathare United, has taken the soccer scene by storm. Named after one of Nairobi ' s most notorious slums and made up of young impoverished players, Mathare United is a formidable challenger to the traditionally strong teams of Gor Mahia, AFC, and Kenya Breweries.
Motor sports are popular in Kenya. One of the biggest sporting events is the Kenya Safari Rally, which takes place around Easter. The rally, which starts and finishes in Nairobi, follows a route that covers 4,000 kilometers (2,486 miles). Large crowds follow the event in the rural areas and the cities. During the rally, daily results dominate radio, print, and television news coverage as Kenyans cheer for the local heroes competing against top international drivers.
Other sports gaining popularity in the nation's capital are rugby, cricket, and field hockey. These games, previously the domain of Nairobi's settler and Asian communities, are becoming popular among Africans. With increasing numbers of participants, Kenya ' s rugby, field hockey, and cricket teams have done well in international competitions. Polo is often played on the weekends in Jamhuri park.
For the country ' s affluent, golf is a popular sport. There are a number of well-maintained country clubs in Nairobi that offer good golfing facilities. Muthaiga Country Club, the old premier settler club, has a top-flight golf course as well as other sporting facilities. Other prominent clubs that have golf courses are Karen Country Club, Limuru Country Club, Royal Nairobi Golf Club, Sigma Golf Club, and the Railway Golf Club.