NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has assured that the government is on top of things to ensure the country hosts a successful World Athletics Under-20 Championship in July this year.
Kenya is set to host the global showpiece having successfully hosted the Under-18 championship in 2017 and despite little being heard from the organizers, Amina says everything is on track for the event to be staged at the Kasarani Stadium.
“Plans Are going on very well and as the steering committee we meet every Monday. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) meets more than once a week and we are on track. Everything will be okay,” Amina told Capital Sport.
“We are also looking at closing the Kasarani Stadium soon and once we are ready to start the renovations, we will shut it out,” Amina further stated.
There have been concerns that little is in the public domain over the hosting of the event with less than five months remaining, but Amina has assured that everything is on track.
This was also corroborated by Athletics Kenya (AK) boss Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei who said AK is doing its best to ensure that the competition will be held in the best circumstances possible.
“Everything is going on well even though you don’t hear much, we are working behind the scenes. We have the LOC already up and running, the website should be up soon and we will also be launching the logo,” Tuwei stated.
“The steering committee has sat four times already and we are glad that within that committee are inter-ministerial officials and this shows that the government is really interested in seeing the success of this competition,” he added.
A contingent of 25 high ranking officials from World Athletics is expected in the country on February 11, led by Executive Director of Communications Jackie Brocke-Doyle. They will be in the country for two days, ensuring that everything is in place.
Already, two different delegations have been in the country with the latest one being a group from the medical department. Tuwei disclosed that they have installed an air pollution monitor outside the stadium to ensure competition is held in the best conditions for the athletes.
“They are coming to meet with the LOC and we are already preparing to welcome them. There will be detailed discussions about everything surrounding the competition and we will exchange notes and look at the progress so far and what we have to do,” Tuwei stated.
Meanwhile, Tuwei says the magnitude of work at Kasarani is not as huge with the tartan track already in place. He says most of the work will major on renovating already existing facilities while the last bit will be bringing in competition equipment.
“We have the media tribune, the technical information centre and medical areas which need work. We are also looking to start preparing the warm up track and field while we will replace the track at the Kenyatta University which will be the athletes’ village,” Tuwei confirmed.
Meanwhile, the AK supremo says he is excited that Kenya will host the World Athletics Continental Tour in May and says this will be a perfect opportunity for Kenya to not only show its athletics might but also offer an insight on how prepared they are for the World Under-20.
“We are absolutely excited because this is the first time that this kind of competition is being held. There are 10 countries and Kenya is one of them. We were considered especially against a number of countries who are very developed,” Tuwei said.
Sports CS Amina added; “This is something that the President and I had really lobbied for and to beat South Africa and the USA to get to host this leg is massive for us. We are getting ready and we don’t want to lose this opportunity to showcase Kenyan athletes and the people,” Amina said.
The Continental Gold Tour will start off with the Nairobi leg which is scheduled for May 2, just over a month before the World Under-20, also to be staged at the Kasarani Stadium.