NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – The 2017 IAAF World Under-18 Championships Local Organizing Committee chairman Mwangi Muthee has reiterated that all facilities will be ready by end of May, a month-and-a-half to the event which will be held at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani from July 12-16.
A new tartan track needs to be laid in the competition arena as well as the warm up track while the terraces, changing rooms and other facilities inside the 60,000-capacity need a facelift before over 160 countries descend on the Kenyan capital for the final event in the Under-18 age cadre.
Muthee confirmed that work has already commenced at the Kenyatta University which will host the athletes village while contractor agreements will be signed by the end of January as work begins.
“Work at the Kenyatta University is 30 percent done and I am very excited because we are going to have a world class village. The IAAF are very keen on the village and they have made it clear that Kenya will score big by creating a secure haven in the village it is important we get it right,” Muthee said.
“We are going to have all contracts out before the end of this month (January) and we have divided all the work to 11 contractors. We want to do all work between 40-60 days maximum. We have all the support from relevant authorities and with that kind of support we cannot fail.”
Work to lay the new blue tartan track will commence February which will lead to the closure of the facility.
Muthee has reiterated the Local Organizing Committee is determined to make the event perfect as it will be a possible pitch for Kenya to host future global tournaments.
Kenya is set to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in 2018 while the Kenya Rugby Union has a vision of hosting one of the World Rugby Sevens Series legs in the city.
A dry run under the inspection of the world athletics governing body IAAF is expected to be conducted by the end of May on all facilities to ensure everything is on top condition.
Muthee was speaking after a handing over ceremony of training equipment which will be distributed across all the 12 training centers, most of which are field event equipment.
The Local Organizing Committee has disclosed the equipment which includes hammers, shot puts, and discuss have been procured at the cost of Sh2mn.
Team Kenya manager Barnaba Korir said the five-month training period will enable the athletes prepare well as Kenya aims to finish top of the world at home.
“We have no problem with the middle and long distance races because I know we have the ability to win. My biggest worry has been the field events because we lacked equipment and I have been pushing for them to arrive,” Korir said.
“We will try our best because if we can be able to get at least three medals in the field events, we have a good chance of finishing first,” Korir, who is also the Nairobi Region Athletics Kenya chairman added.
Muthee revealed that they will get field event specialists from Germany to prepare the team with Joseph Mosonik, the coach of World Javelin champion Julius Yego incorporated to the team to help in training.
However, Olympic silver medalist Yego is worried that the five-month training period is too short.
“To be honest I don’t expect any big surprises because field events require a lot of input in training over a long time. It is not something that you just wake up one day and do. If I was asked the coaches should be there even tomorrow,” Yego offered.
Athletics Kenya plans to name the final team to represent Kenya in June after a two-day Championship Trials. At the moment, AK has put up 12 camps of 40 athletes each, but the same will be trimmed to 20 per camp in April.