Sports, Culture and the arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has lauded the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the steering committee for the IAAF World Under 18 Championship for silencing naysayers who thought the country could not manage to organise such a successful championship.
Wario praised the good interplay among the ministries involved; Sports, Tourism, and Internal Security among others for displaying Kenya’s maturity and ability to prepare for General Elections while at the same time successfully organising a major sporting competition.
“We had the greatest sporting event ever in this country and I wish to thank everyone who was involved in the organisation, especially the inter-ministerial team appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which was led by the late Cabinet Secretary for Interior Lt Gen Joseph Nkaissery, and that was extremely important in mobilizing preparations in infrastructure, roads, energy and other sectors,” said Wario.
He added: “To those who said we will not be ready or we had security issues because of the General Election, in the end we have shown them that Kenya is a mature country.”
Wario said the country was now able to bid for bigger events like the World Championships and the Diamond League after being tried and tested by the championships that attracted more than 1,500 visitors.
Meanwhile, the championship, which is the last of its kind, saw numerous records broken. First the attendance record was twice smashed on day four and five. More than 20,000 fans were turned away on Sunday after the 65,000 seater stadium filled to the brim while more than 50,000 followed the action from the stadium on Saturday.
Eleven world leading times were set as numerous records were broken as the juniors searched for medals in various categories. Caren Kibet 17, recorded a time of 6:24.80 to clinch gold and become the world leader in girls’ 2,000m steeple chase for life as this was the final edition of this age competitions.
As South Africa ran away with top honours, their high jump sensation Breyton Poole set two personal best times, setting a new World U18 leading time at 2.24 and won his country the only gold outside of sprints.