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World Junior, Diamond League next after U18 success

Edwin Zakayo celebrating after winning the Boys 3000m semi on Thursday during the IAAF World U18 Championships at Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17- IAAF will give Kenya bid documents for the 2020 World Junior Championships after witnessing immense success in the just concluded World Under-18 event, Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee has disclosed.

Muthee, who said, the IAAF ‘went on a blind date’ with Kenya giving it the hosting rights to host a huge international showpiece says the country has proved that it can handle a huge magnitude event having welcomed 131 countries in the five-day carnival in Kasarani.

“Absolutely! Kenya is ready to host another event, even the senior World Championships. I can say that without batting an eye. You can see what Kenya can do; we have been known to be champions on the track and now we have another reputation that Kenya can organize an event,” Muthee said on Sunday evening after the closing ceremony of the championship.

He further reiterated this on Monday afternoon during a post-event briefing, saying the International Athletics body was thoroughly impressed with kenya’s organization and particularly the athletes’ village which was at Kenyatta University.

Athletics Kenya President (Rtd) Gen Jackson Tuwei has also added his voice to the same and says Kenya will bid to host one leg of the Diamond League.

Tuwei has also exuded confidence that IAAF will not hesitate to give Kenya a leg of the Diamond League if they bid for it, basing on the success witnessed during the Under-18 Championships.

Currently, only one leg of the Diamond League is held in Africa, being hosted in Rabat, Morocco.

Fans turned out in Large numbers at Kasarani Stadium for the World Under-18 Championships from July 12-16. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“The government has established very good facilities and I believe if we ask next time to host another event, IAAF will not hesitate to give us. The IAAF boss Seb Coe himself said Kenya can even bid for the World Championships. We need to sit and plan and see how we can go about it. There is no reason why another country cannot be given a chance to host a Diamond League event,” Tuwei noted.

The final two days of the Championship exhibited the highest number ever in an age-group championship.

On Saturday close to 50,000 spectators lit the Kasarani Stadium while on Sunday, the final day of the event, the 60,000 seater Stadium was filled to capacity with thousands locked out of the gates.

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“I want to say a big thank you to Kenyans who took their time to come to Kasarani. Even IAAF were impressed because they have never witnessed something like that. This event has been made possible by Kenyans who came out in large numbers,” Muthee added.

Both Tuwei and Muthee further added that despite the championship going through smoothly with no hitch, behind the scenes were huge fights to ensure that things went on as planned. Muthee went on to further state he was impressed with the output considering most work was done behind schedule.

“It is good we have succeeded as a country and as Africa. The success of this championship will inspire many sports federations to emulate what has happened because this was a foundation stone being laid. That success is not just for Kenyan people but all those involved,” Muthee commented.

LOC chairman Jackson Tuwei, Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee and Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia meet IAAF President Lord Sebastain Coe in nairobi. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

Tuwei disclosed that Kenya almost lost the event’s hosting rights at some point and it took a lot of hard work to convince IAAF for Nairobi to retain its status as the host city.

“At first we were supposed to host this event at Nyayo and then we had to change to Kasarani because of some logistical issues. That brought a lot of uncertainty because there were delays and we almost lost this event,” Tuwei, who also chaired the LOC disclosed.

The two also paid glowing tribute to departed Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry for the huge role he played ensuring that everything ran as planned, more so that there was no single security hitch.

The LOC will now prepare its report within the next 90 days, but the most immediate task will be to hand over the venues; Kasarani and athletes’ village back to their owners, Sports Kenya and Kenyatta University.

“We hope that these facilities we have worked so hard to put in place will not be wasted. Those responsible should ensure that the legacy continues because this is what Kenyans will remember the games for,” Muthee further added.

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