Athletics Athletics

Govt offers Sh700mn boost to World Youth Athletics Championships

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (middle) and his Principal Secretary Richard Ekai (left) officially welcome Mwangi Muthee as the World Athletics Youth Championship CEO/ PHOTO- Raymond Makhaya
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (middle) and his Principal Secretary Richard Ekai (left) officially welcome Mwangi Muthee as the World Athletics Youth Championship CEO/ PHOTO- Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 30 – The Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture has allocated Sh700 million to the steering committee of the 2017 World Youth Athletics Championships which will be held at the Moi Sports Centre, Kasarani.

This is part of a larger Sh2 billion budgetary allocation given to the ministry from the national government for hosting of the event, with Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario saying the initial amount will be used to purchase technical equipment.

Wario announced this after the recently inaugurated steering committee had its first meeting at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani where former Kenya Rugby Union boss Mwangi Muthee was formerly introduced as the Chief Executive Officer of the games.

“We want the committee to start work now and already an amount has been allocated for the purchase of equipment such as time machines. I want to urge the committee to get down to work and soon we will have an LOC ready led by AK chairman General Tuwei and nine other directors and we hope to deliver a good championship,” Wario said.

Muthee’s appointment as the CEO of the championship had been met with a lot of criticism from Athletics Kenya who ‘rejected’ the appointment of the former rugby chief, arguing they needed their own. However, Wario has stood firm and said Muthee will continue with his task.

“Mwangi has a very good rapport with the corporate sector and also a director with Sports Kenya which is one of the biggest stakeholders in this tournament because we will be using their facility. We feel that he is the right man for the job because this is a managerial job and he is a good manager,” Wario opined.

Muthee on his side said he was  not concerned with the ‘side shows’ and committed to help Kenya organize a world class event, while acknowledging there was a huge task ahead of them.

“I want to take this job whole heartedly and I thank the ministry for giving me the opportunity. I am not here to fight anyone. I have been given a job to do and I will do it,” Muthee said, and added that “We know the task ahead is not easy but I am committed to see that we have a world class facility prepared and a world class event to work on.”

The Kasarani stadium needs a huge facelift to lift it to international standards and among the things lined up including laying of a new international standard tartan track.

Officials from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are expected to fly in before August to assess the progress and Kenya’s readiness for the event. Wario has affirmed the country will be ready to host the tournament despite fears IAAF might be looking at an alternative host.

Meanwhile, the Sports CS has assured football lovers that the 2018 African nations Championship (CHAN) will be successfully hosted by the country, even after CAF officials said that only Kasarani met international standards to host the tournament.

CAF Secretary General Hicham El Amrani said ‘a lot of work needed to be done’ on all other venues and Wario exudes confidence his ministry will land the necessary budget allocation to renovate the current facilities.

“We will be ready, that I can assure. Despite the fact we are using a lot of money for the World Youth Athletics championship, we will get budgetary allocation for CHAN.

While preparing for Athletics, we are also looking at ways we can double renovate Kasarani to fit both standards of CAF and IAAF so that we are only left with three venues to work on,” Wario added.

The CS has also admitted that some stadia might need total overhaul saying their primary designs and infrastructure were off required standards. Among the stadia which might be renovated include Moi Stadium in Kisumu and the Mombasa County Stadium.