NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised that the country will successfully host the 2017 IAAF World Under-18 Championships as well as the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), reiterating the government’s full support.
The Head of State has also affirmed the government will work in earnest to ensure facilities which will host the games are ready, including fulfilling the promise of new modern stadia.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure our facilities are ready even as we focus on our program of constructing new modern stadia across the country. We look forward to celebrate Africa talent and doing our part to bring people together through sport,” President Kenyatta said.
“My Administration has already constituted a Local Organizing Committee to lead the preparations. Arrangements are well under way – indeed, the inspection team from the Confederation of Africa Football which visited us recently reported that we had made good progress.”
He was speaking on Thursday as he received the Queens’ Baton which is on a tour of 71 countries ahead of the Commonwealth Games which will be held at the Gold Coast in Australia in 2018.
The President has also pledged support to Kenyan athletes preparing for the games held once every four years.
“So long as you work diligently, you can be sure that any obstacles and hindrances we can remove, we will remove. That is the promise I give you today,” President Kenyatta stated.
He received the button from Commonwealth Games second vice president Gideon Sam and in turn passed it on to athletes representatives David Rudisha, winner of the 800m silver medal in Glasgow in 2008 and Milcah Chemos who won the 3000m steeplechase gold medal in Delhi 2010 and a silver in Glasgow four years later.
“It is such an honor to host the Queen’s Baton here in the country and as athletes it gives us the motivation to prepare well for the games next year,” Rudisha told Capital Sport.
Kenya is the seventh country in which the baton is making a stop. The journey which will go through a 388-day, 230,000km journey with its destination being Gold Coast started the relay at the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom on March 13.
It has gone through Sierra Leone, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Cameroon before getting to Nigeria from where it landed in Kenya. It will be around for three days with its next destination being Tanzania with the tour starting on April 8-11.
Among those present as the President received the baton included embattled National Olympics Committee of Kenya officials led by president Kipchoge Keino and deputy treasurer Stephen arap Soi.
The Commonwealth Games which see all countries colonized by the United Kingdom sportingly come together is usually handled by each country’s Olympic Committee.