NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 13 – IAAF chief Lord Sebastian Coe on Thursday gave the most positive verdict over the ongoing World U18 Championships at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.
“The competitions are very impressive and the standards are very high,” said Lord Coe at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani where the global track and field events entered their second day.
Lord Coe, who has been in the country since Sunday overseeing preparations for the championships, was full of praise for the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for putting in place a splendid competition.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s office has worked closely and tirelessly with LOC to ensure the success of the Nairobi 2017 competitions.
“LOC has worked very well and very hard. I am happy working with them”, said the IAAF boss who is this evening scheduled to fly out of Nairobi for London where he is also overseeing the forthcoming (senior) IAAF World championships, London 2017, next month.
Coe, who talked exclusively to PSCU as he followed today’s track and field events said he would have wished to take President Uhuru Kenyatta’s advice on Wednesday to remain in the country much longer to sample the country’s cuisine, culture and the Arts were it not for the demands of his schedule.
While opening the four-day field and track extravaganza Wednesday, President Kenya told the visiting athletes and their officials to find time after the games to sample Kenya’s globally recognized hospitality and related services.
Coe, who is in Kenya for the fourth time after being here during the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, said he is satisfied with the accommodation and catering services being offered for the Athletes at Kenyatta University’s Sports Village.
The IAAF Chief is a former track and field athlete and a four times Olympic medalist including gold in the 1500 metres event (1980 and 1984).
He set a world record in the 800 metres race in 1981 which remained unbroken until 1997. He assumed the IAAF Presidency in 2015.
LOC chairman, Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei welcomed President Kenyatta’s directive for the organizers to open the competitions for free entry to fans and athletics enthusiasts.
He expressed optimism the directive would allow more fans to flock the stadium and cheer up the competitors.
The numbers started picking up this afternoon and more Kenyans are expected to flock the Kasarani stadium as the weekend draws near. The competitions end on Sunday, July 16.
The LOC chairman thanked President Kenyatta for expressing his confidence with the IAAF system, governance and management.
He said the Athletics officials will take President Kenyatta’s advice for Kenya to stop over-reliance in traditional track events but explore diversification of field events that include hammer, sprints, pole vault jumps and throws in which other countries like Jamaica had done very well.
“The message from the President when we recently met him was very encouraging and motivating. IAAF officials were also very impressed with his message (yesterday) when he opened the championships,” said Gen Tuwei.
He said Athletics officials will explore the possibilities for an exchange programme for coaches especially in areas that Kenya seeks to improve on.
Meanwhile, the stadium remained vibrant and lively today with the fans and sporting enthusiasts adopting the popular “Mexican wave” method of cheering up the competitors.
Sukuti drummers and dancers gave the stadium more life with their captivating isukuti dances.