Amos Abuga @PeopleSports11
Infighting within the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and from outside forces is threatening to derail preparations for the IAAF World Under-20 Championships slated from July 7-12 next year at Kasarani Stadium.
Since the LOC was gazetted on March 1 with Mike Rabar as CEO, the 32-member team has witnessed endless wrangles in and out and People Sport understands the working relationship between the LOC and some officials in the Ministry of Sports is at an all-time low, barely a year to the age-group competition. Further, some members of the LOC claim they don’t know what their roles will be, making it difficult to hold meetings.
A senior Athletics Kenya (AK) official was recently quoted in a local daily saying ‘timeline, all aspects of the local planning are in the red’, further fuelling anxiety.
People Sport understands a senior Sports ministry official has been frustrating the Rabar-led team, with the events management guru alleged to be a project of former Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa.
There are also two camps within the LOC, one oscillating around AK, who see themselves as insiders, and the other aligned to Rabar, considered outsiders.
Due to this, none of the initial meetings that have taken place has been conclusive, putting the event into jeopardy.
“The ministry has not been supportive in this whole process. There are cases of facilities that need upgrading and in some cases, completely new ones at Kasarani but the ministry has been non-committal. This project can only be successful if we work together,” said a member of the LOC who did not wish to be named.
However, Rabar has dismissed claims that personal interests are superseding the major event. “I have just returned from Yokohama on a benchmarking mission. These are efforts aimed at getting valuable lessons to make our event a success,” said Rabar, who in less than two months will officially launch a countdown to the Nairobi championships.
Sports Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed is also reading from the same script. “I know the facility in Kasarani will be ready for the championships because the government’s priority is delivering on the promises of ensuring we have a conducive environment to support sport,” said Amina, who declined to acknowledge any wrangles within the LOC.