President Uhuru Kenyatta and his International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) counterpart Sebastian Coe will preside over the opening ceremony of World Under 18 Championships at Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday.
By doing so, Uhuru will thus literally complete a job started by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who led the bid team to host the games as its patron. Sports Cabinet Secretary Hasan Wario says the government’s commitment in hosting the championships has full backing of State House and the President’s presence during the opening ceremony will be testament.
“We are well endowed in terms of athletics talent and most of the medals our heroes have were won not in this country. Other nations have hosted us in the past and now it is time for us to do due diligence and welcome the world.
The President himself alongside Coe will preside over the official opening ceremony and we want to deliver a memorable championships,” said Wario. A complete refurbishment of Kasarani and renovation of Kenyatta University dormitories for the championships cost the state over Sh2 billion.
Security has been beefed up despite the demise of Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, who had led the preparations with zeal. Entrances to the stadium have been compartmentalised for ease of access and security preparedness while an Administration Police camp is erected within the facility. Access to the venue is restricted to accredited personnel and ticket holders only.
Kasarani is swarming with police officers some of whom will be dispatched to Kenyatta University today when the athletes village becomes active and Wario assured everyone of their safety. “Our preparedness is 99 per cent and that goes for security as well.
Most of the plans were put in place by the late Cabinet Secretary and besides a few security equipment, everything is alright. The gadgets will be shipped in and installed well ahead of time so we are ready in all aspects,” he said.
The LOC will have a cultural village at Kasarani with all top 50 rated artistes performing on various days. The centre will feature traditional cuisine and a “Maasai” market.