Coe to come for Nairobi 2017, AK welcomes IAAF reforms

IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe addresses the media after the passing of the reforms he ...
IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe addresses the media after the passing of the reforms he championed on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in Monaco, Monte Carlo. PHOTO/IAAF

IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe has confirmed he will attend the 2017 World Under 18 Championships in Nairobi as Athletics Kenya (AK) pledged to implement the new reforms he pushed thought at the Special Congress in Monaco, Monte Carlo over the weekend.

AK President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said on Sunday Coe’s declaration he would be in Nairobi next July when Kenya hosts her first IAAF global track and field meet was a ringing endorsement for organisers amidst fears some European nations were considering pulling out over security concerns.

Tuwei who cast a yes vote for Kenya on Saturday when Congress delegates resoundingly adopted the reforms pushed by Coe stressed they were now emboldened to implement changes in AK amidst the clamour to change the local governing body’s constitution.

“The reforms passed are a milestone and it has not been done for a very long time in IAAF. The discussions and process that has been followed has been inclusive and we did not just come here to just pass them, we have been included from the start.

“We had been invited to go and contribute, to be introduced and told what the reforms are all about.

“We went through, discussed we suggested and made comments in areas we were not happy with and today, he has told us very clearly he has taken care of all those and we think athletics will be taken to the next level,” the former Kenya Army boss said.

Tuwei and his Vice-president Jinaro Kibet were first invited to discuss the constitution in Dakar, Senegal by the Confederation of African Athletics despite neither being a member of its council.

They then travelled to South Africa when Coe made his stop in Africa during his global tour to the six confederations to drum support for the reforms that were passed 182-10 in Monaco.

Tuwei backed the new dispensation to help the sport in desperate need of credibility to win back some of its detractors who have held up funding in the face of a doping and corruption crisis under the regime of immediate former IAAF President, Lamine Diack.

“We don’t want athletics to be a sport that is always blamed for doping, not taking things seriously, corruption and poor governance. Kenya has been a victim of this and we are going through that process even right now and it is always important to make a change for the better.

“When we looked at all the proposals given, we thought it was good for the sport, good for management and good for Kenya, that is why we voted yes,” the retired general underscored.

Having played a part in altering the destiny of the sport, Tuwei assured the next step would be cleaning up Riadha House to make AK compliant with the new rules.

“It will make us change certain things and the moment it comes from the body we are affiliated to, it gives us strength to see that we change our approach to make things better. The world is changing, we must change and it gives us confidence,” he added.

“We would like to bring back the sponsors and the only thing that can give them confidence to support the sport and Athletics Kenya is to make sure that these reforms happen,” Tuwei stressed.

The IAAF Congress vote came in a week where a group of athletes led by 1991 IAAF World Championships men 10000m gold medallist, Moses Tanui obtained a court order that barred AK from amending its current constitution.

According to the aggrieved parties, the whole process is not inclusive as they accuse the AK top brass of trying to push through a constitution that will favour incumbent officials.

The federation is slated to hold their elections next year.

-Nairobi on course-

At the same time, Tuwei left Monaco with a stamp of approval from the Council delegates that Nairobi will host a successful World Under 17 championship next year despite the General Election wave that will be sweeping the nation at the time.

“We cannot deny we are late in certain areas but we are now in full gear. We have been vvisited gfive times by del;egated from IAAF who have guided us in everything we need to do. We are organising ourselves in the procurement element so that we get everything done,” Tuwei who is the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the global showpiece reported.

He added outmoded infrastructure including wiring at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani will be ripped off and replaced ahead of the event.

“We were happy when Coe announced in the Congress he is coming in Nairobi and it was a great achievement on our side and a great confidence on the part of the president.

“We want to advice countries that Nairobi is safe and the reason we moved the chamopionship from Nyayo to Kasarani was due to those security concern and reduce expenditure of movement and other logistics,” the AK chief added.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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