Organising Committee (LOC) for the IAAF World U18 Championships has handed over host venue, Kasarani Stadium and the Athletes Village, Kenyatta University to the IAAF in readiness for the 10th and final edition of the global competition that guns off on Wednesday.
The stadium already exhibits competition aura as IAAF technical teams swarmed it with competition gadgets and foreign athletes feeling the track ahead of Wednesday’s start. Competition and warm-up tracks have been marked ready for the championships.
A proud Sports Cabinet Secretary Hasan Wario proclaimed the country’s readiness to host the world at the venue yesterday. The competition, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday, brings together athletes aged 17 and below from IAAF member states, 157 of which have confirmed participation. “We have handed over the stadium and Kenyatta University to IAAF.
That means the championships is here and all is set. We are ready to host the world and to offer a world-class event. I want to thank everybody who has worked towards the realisation of all this,” said Wario.
IAAF technical official and head of regional training centre Hussein Kipkemboi also assured of superb work done by the LOC. “From a technical aspect, this championship will be held under standard conditions.
The track has healed and is ready for the games. Everything else is running well and we will have a dry run on Monday (today),” said Kipkemboi. Kenya hopes to wrap the competition in a flourish having won the inaugural edition in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 1999 and Brixen, Italy 2009.
The government invested Sh2.4 billion in the preparations and are unperturbed by withdrawals of seven nations. Over 1,500 athletes from 157 IAAF member states are expected to duel in the age group competition.
Kenya are hot favourites to claim overall title having finished second behind United States in Cali, Colombia two years ago. USA failed to send a team to this year’s championships citing security concerns while Britain, Switzerland and other European nations followed suit.
The event has nonetheless, attracted a large number of participating countries and made Kenya more determined to succeed. Most teams are expected to jet in today and will have a dedicate counter at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to fast track their admission to the country. The event’s success would place Kenya on a higher pedestal to win future bids for bigger competitions.