NAIROBI, Kenya, October 9– Kenya risks losing the hosting rights for 2017 World Youth Championships due to the Government’s failure to offer requisite financial guarantees after world body IAAF officially confirmed the country was in the running to stage the biennial age global showpiece.
An Athletics Kenya (AK) top official confided to Capital Sport last week, “The President (Uhuru Kenyatta) is so keen on this event and we have the First Lady as the patron but the man at the ministry concerned has done nothing in taking the necessary steps to secure the guarantees needed.
“We have gone to his offices many times to seek a meeting on the matter but he is either away or busy on other matters and we wonder what could be bigger than hosting an international event.”
The official who did not wished to remain anonymous further claimed: “We did not wish for this matter to come out in the open since we do not intend to be seen as if we are fighting the Government but the minister (Dr. Hassan Wario) is doing nothing.”
But according to a statement released by AK on Wednesday, Kenya was able to meet the submission deadline of September 25 which marked the second stage of the bidding process for the global event.
However, Kenya did not meet the deadline for the submission of the Event Organization Agreement (EOA) as well as the financial guarantees from the government with AK top brass warning they could lose the event if the State does not back the biennial age event by October 31.
“This is a requirement and may jeopardize the position of Kenya who is in competition with other countries. Upon request from Athletics Kenya, the IAAF has given Kenya the final deadline for submission of the EOA and the financial guarantees before the end of the month of October,” part of the statement read.
Should Kenya meet the extended deadline, then they will be invited to make the final presentation and defence of the bid which will take place in November 18 at the IAAF headquarters in Monaco in the prelude to the World Gala.
But lack of submission of the guarantees from the government by the deadline would mean Kenya is automatically kicked out of the bidding process and therefore lose the opportunity of hosting over 150 countries and about 1,600 athletes aged below 17 years in the two weeks event.
The application form contained technical details of the bid covering areas like transport both local and international, training and competition facilities, hotels, visas among other technical requirements which show the readiness of the City of Nairobi to host the event.
Kenya and patron First Lady Margaret Kenyatta are proposing to host the event in the capital Nairobi and the bid committee has been working closely with the County and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts to meet the requirements set by the IAAF.
“In a letter of reply from the IAAF President Mr. Lamine Diack to the Patron of the bid, Diack noted Kenya has shown great commitment to the sport of athletics and the country has the necessary competence to host international events,” the statement continued.
Kenya are battling for the biannual global competition hosting rights with USA after Argentina withdrew in July.
This will be the third time AK will be looking to host a major championship after successfully staging the 2007 IAAF World Cross Championships in Mombasa and 2010 CAA Africa Senior Championships in Athletics in Nairobi.
At both events, AK and the Government were involved in a tussle over guaranteeing the event, with the African event pushed back twice to July as the federation and then Sports Minister, Professor Hellen Sambili, engaged in a ping-pong game over monies and Local Organising Committee set up among other issues.
Ahead of the 2007 World Cross, the Government only came in less than four months before what was acclaimed as one of the best editions of the event played out at the Mombasa Golf Course as the then LOC scrambled to put things together at godspeed.
Famous athletes such as Janeth Jepkosgei, Vivian Cheruiyot and reigning Commonwealth champions Faith Chepng’etich and Mercy Cherono are glittering examples of luminaries who came to global attention at the World Youth not forgetting a certain Usain St. Leo Bolt who shone at the 2003 edition aged 16.
The event first ran in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland where double world champion Cheruiyot first came to notice with the 2015 event will be staged in Cali, Colombia with Donetsk, Ukraine hosting the latest running last year.