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First Lady hosts IAAF boss Coe at a welcome dinner

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and IAAF President Sebastian Coe lead senior Government officials, IAAF officials, world-class athletes and LOC officials in a jig during the championships’ welcome dinner.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11- First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on the eve of the 10th edition of the IAAF World U18 Championships assured the globe of Kenya’s preparedness to deliver a world class event that start on Wednesday at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.

The First Lady said all the partners including IAAF and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) officials are all responsible in ensuring a fair and credible competition is held without any distractions to the competitors.

The First Lady commended the organizers, partners and the many volunteers for their dedication, stamina and determination to overcome the many challenges standing on their way to ensure Kenya’s preparations for the championships meet international standards.

“For the Government of Kenya, the IAAF, LOC and all the partners the time has come for us to deliver a world class competition and the stage is ready! We are all responsible in ensuring that our competitors are able to compete in a fair and credible environment, protected from any distractions that impede the athletes from performing their best,” she said.

The First Lady spoke during a welcome dinner she co-hosted with the IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe for key partners who have been working tirelessly to ensure the success of the (Nairobi 2017) championships.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is tomorrow afternoon scheduled to open the competitions at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The First Lady is the current patron of the last biennial showpiece that will be held in Kenya with over 130 nations set to participate.

Her office and LOC have worked tirelessly to ensure that Kenya, a nation recognized globally as a powerhouse for great champions in athletics, hosts a competition that the country and the world will be proud off.

Besides the IAAF and LOC officials, other partners at the splendid dinner included Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and retired athletes who have in the past conquered the world in various disciplines.

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Others were top sports managers, Security agencies, the UN-family and Protocol officers considering that over 1400 athletes, coaches, managers and doctors from over 130 countries are participating in the competitions.

Besides thanking the organizers of the championships and its partners, the dinner provided the visitors with an opportunity to sample the local cuisine and mingle with colleagues from Kenya’s sporting fraternity and government officials.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and IAAF President Sebastian Coe lead senior Government officials, IAAF officials, world-class athletes and LOC officials in a jig during the championships’ welcome dinner.

The First Lady said she was extremely proud of being associated with the IAAF WU-18 sporting event adding that she is very passionate about the youth and their pursuits.

“I thank the IAAF for providing a platform for our children to participate in sporting activities and giving them an opportunity to pursue a sports career. I am convinced that sports is an important vehicle that will provide our youth with a positive competitive spirit, values, attitudes, determination and focus to shape their life skills,” she said.

The First Lady told the athletes to embrace and demonstrate good sportsmanship by accepting the outcome of the competitions.

“I know competitions have become tougher, and training has become more rigorous, requiring lots of personal sacrifice. This week, we shall see new records broken, thrilling performances, excitement, victories and defeats,” she told the excited athletes.

On Monday afternoon, the First Lady took time off to mingle, chat and take photographs with some youth delegates including those from Germany, Morocco and Kenya when she made a final inspection of the renovated sporting facilities at the MISC.

Lord Coe said the history of Kenyan athletes is key to the history of world athletics. He said the country had contributed immensely in world athletics.

“It is befitting to have these championships in Kenya,” said Lord Coe who also presented the First Lady with an IAAF honorary plaque.

The IAAF President was full of praise of Kenyan athletes, some of whom had conquered the world despite coming from challenging backgrounds like Tecla Lorupe.

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He also praised the Kenyan athletes for being “humble off the track” despite their prowess on the tracks.

Kenya won the inaugural WU-18 championships in Poland in 1999 and the 6th edition of the competitions in Italy in 2009.

Sporting enthusiasts are optimistic that no country can beat Kenya at home and over 200 countries will be watching whether the 60-strong team of young Kenyan athletes can maintain the global fame that the country is the king of the track.

The current championships mark the final edition of the WU-18 competitions.


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