NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – Kenya was on Wednesday given thumbs up by IAAF in terms of preparations for the July Under-18 World Championships to be hosted at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium.
The comment followed an IAAF site visit this week specifically timed to take place as the planning and preparation of the World U18 Championships in Nairobi between 12 to 16 July enters the final straight.
“The magnitude of organising this five day competition, which will be the second largest athletics competition of the year only surpassed by the world championships in London, should not be underestimated,” confirmed Carlo di Angeli, IAAF Head of Events Operations who led the IAAF delegation which visited Nairobi.
“Last year’s decision to move the competition to the MOI Sports Centre in Kasarani [on Nairobi’s north eastern suburbs from the earlier intended Nyayo National Stadium near the city centre] was a good one allowing better facilities and proximity to the athletes’ accommodation at Kenyatta University. With all teams staying at the university this will create a ‘village’ concept with the added safety, comradery, convenience and comfort that brings.”
“There is a lively promotional plan for the championships [in Nairobi] to activate fans to fill the stadium [65,000 seat] and during our visit we have experienced excitement around the event at all levels which we find extremely encouraging.”
“The championships are being enthusiastically organised by the Local Organising Committee fully supported by the City of Nairobi and the Kenyan Government. We call on everyone to redouble their already impressive efforts to drive these championships across the finish line in July,” concluded Carlo De Angeli.
The IAAF delegation included representatives of ASICS an Official Partner of the IAAF World Athletics Series, IAAF’s Marketing Partner Dentsu and their service company Athletics Management & Services, and IAAF staff and contractors with responsibilities among others for accreditation, broadcasting, events, protocol, teams and ticketing.
The Local Organising Committee [LOC] chief executive officer Mwangi Muthee said his committee’s visit over the weekend to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda was an eye opener.
“Kampala put up a wonderfully organised event. And going by the words of the IAAF President Seb Coe, it had vindicated IAAF’s commitment to bring top flight competition to non-traditional centres like Africa,” Muthee said.
“We in Nairobi shall endeavour, not only to emulate Uganda, but to serve a competition surpassing those standards.”
In Kampala, Lord Coe, applauding the success of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Kololo Independence Grounds said:
“It is also a big moment for Africa because bringing our championships here has been one of my commitments since I took charge and my council members know how important it is to grow the sport wherever possible. Taking the sport into the heartland of our talent and our passion is a plus and there is no better heartland than in Africa,” he added.
About 156 countries, 2,000 athletes and officials are expected in Nairobi compared to 557 athletes from 59 nations at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
The Kenyan LOC CEO said that in the last few weeks, Kenya’s preparedness has gone a notch higher. “Infrastructure upgrading at the competition venue, Athletes Village, and other relevant facilities has picked up pace. The contractors are working diligently to finish everything ahead of schedule,” he said.
Muthee said, with the benefit of advice from past and recent IAAF delegation visits, his committee had worked on all aspects of Nairobi’s preparedness to host the Championships. He paid tribute to IAAF for continued LOC support.
“They inspected all relevant facilities and working plans and mapped out for us anything that was outstanding. We want to get it right. This will be an event in the limelight; beamed across the world.”
We want to have a first class competition and in order to do that; we must have in place all requirements for the technical people who will, be driving the organisation, especially the IAAF technical officials, IAAF partners and local volunteers.”
“The marketing experts advised the LOC on how to project the ‘look and feel’ of the Championships and the best way to brand IAAF, Kenya and the City of Nairobi.
“We discussed crucial event operations, team services, accommodation and office space utilization for the IAAF Family, media, broadcast and television facilities and accreditation for officials, technical staff, volunteers and media, among other things.
“All directorates with relevant roles in the championships had their hands full during the meetings with the delegates. We are in the last straight in our preparations and they must be able to report that all milestones in the planning and implementation have been reached. We are fast-approaching the D-Day,” concluded Muthee.