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Athletics Kenya dreams big with another

An emboldened Kenyan government in conjunction with Athletics Kenya has petitioned athletics world governing body IAAF to grant hosting rights for the 2020 Under20 World Championships.

This comes hot on the heels of a highly successful Under-18 World Championships hosted in Nairobi in 2017 and less than one week before the 2018 Under 20 championships gun off in Tampere, Finland.

IAAF has not disclosed any official bids for the event but confirmed Kenya’s interest in hosting it. The normal rigorous process that marked Kenya’s maiden bid for a global track and field jamboree seem to have been sidestepped with Kenya hoping no rival puts in a bid.

In a scenario where Kenya show’s interest like it has and no other nation bids to host, the country could be handed the baton when Tampere concludes in a fortnight.

IAAF wrote: “The president of Athletics Kenya, Lieutenant General Jackson Tuwei, and the Principal Secretary for Sports in Kenya, Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia, visited the IAAF headquarters in Monaco on Friday (June 22) to discuss Kenya’s bid to host the 2020 IAAF World U20 Championships. After successfully hosting the World U18 Championships in Nairobi last year, with crowds of up to 60,000 in attendance, Kenya is keen to host the next level of global competition to add to its rich history in the sport.”

Kenya’s preparedness to host the event will be better than 2017 when nearly 70 percent of work had to be done in less 90 days. The warm up tracks at Kasarani will however, be overhauled to match it with A1 certified completion track inside the main stadium.

The Stadion Hotel which, was not utilised in 2017, has been renovated and elevated to a four-star status with a bed capacity of 108 and a potential of doubling capacity. Kenyatta University hostels that were specifically modified to accommodate athletes is in healthy condition and could potentially host the junior men and women in 2020 if Kenya’s wish is granted.

Kirimi Kaberia, Principal Secretary Sports and Heritage sounded confident of getting the green light from Monaco.

“We succeeded under difficult circumstances in 2017 and now we are more alert, more prepared and itching to host the Under 20s. Progression is key and in future we can as well bid for the senior athletics world championships.

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