Athletics Athletics

Pull-outs won’t affect World U18 Champs, says IAAF delegate

IAAF Media Delegate Olof Brockmann with Local Organizing Committee member Chris Mutungi inspecting the Moi Sports STadium Kasarani. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 –Despite various countries pulling out of July’s IAAF World U18 Athletics Championship to be held in Nairobi, IAAF Press Delegate Olof Brockmann has insisted the championship which will be in its final edition will still be a success.

Brockmann, a seasoned German-born Journalist working in Austria has insisted there is nothing to worry about the safety around the event with the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand among the countries who have decided to stay off the tournament.

“I am really disappointed they are not coming. I don’t understand it. With what I have seen here in the last four days we are very secure and there will be no problems . There is no fear. There is very good organization of movement from the hotel to the stadium and back. Nothing can happen,” Brockmann said on Sunday afternoon.

The IAAF delegate has been in the country over the last week as preparations for the championship hit top gear . He was accompanied by IAAF Media Operations Manager Lavinia Maffia with their work solely to ensure all requirements for a working press during the championship are top notch.

Just last week, Kenya announced it will embark on a process of shuttle diplomacy in a bid to reassure of the safety around the tournament and stem the rate of pull-outs.

Brockmann revealed that Germany, his country of birth had already decided to pull out of the championship until a delegation came to the country and inspected all facilities before deciding they would send a team over.

The experienced journalist has further said he would try to convince the Austrian federation to change their mind about a possible withdrawal, revealing they had decided to withdraw after hearing that Germany had primarily withdrawn.

IAAF Media Delegate Olof Brockmann and Media Operations manager Lavinia Maffia are shown around the Moi Sports Stadium Kasarani. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“I think the problem has been the kind of information going out there. What we will now try to do is to sell out a positive message. The IAAF delegation has seen what we have to offer and I believe will relay that positively. I am not worried that more countries will pull out. In fact I am confident we will have record entries,” a confident Mwangi Muthee, the chairman of the Local Organizing Committee told Capital Sports.

Muthee announced last week after an inter-ministerial and steering committee consultative meeting at the Office of the President, it was agreed that the Member of Parliaments will be in the forefront in assuring countries expected to participate security.

The team which would go on a shuttle diplomacy mission, Muthee announced would be led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.

Meanwhile, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will officially launch the event website on Tuesday, four months to the event as the LOC intensifies plans of publicizing the championship for more success.