First Lady Kenyatta says Nairobi WU18 preps at 9/10


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during an early morning training session at the Kasarani Safaricom Stadium ...
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during an early morning training session at the Kasarani Safaricom Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on February 25, 2016. She is preparing for the forthcoming First Lady Half Marathon in support of the Beyond Zero campaign scheduled for the March 6, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

First Lady Margaret  Kenyatta rated the ongoing renovations and preparations for the IAAF World Under 18 Championships as ‘about 90 per cent complete and ready’ as Nairobi braces to host the four-day event.

The First Lady made the assessment after concluding an extensive inspection of sporting and accommodation  facilities including the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani (MISC) which will be used as the host stadium.

Mrs Kenyatta, who is current patron of the championship, also toured the athletes’ village at the Kenyatta University that will be home to an estimated 2,000 athletes and officials representing over 150 countries from all over the world.

Significantly, the Kenyan capital will be remembered for hosting the final edition of the biennial showpiece for youth athletes. The Games, which will be held from 12-16 July, also mark the first time that Kenya hosts a global track and field championships.

At Kenyatta University where the First Lady had gone to open the International Conference on Reproductive Health, she found time to tour some of the accommodation facilities that include 6 hostel blocks with a 2000-room capacity at the institution’s Sports village.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina led the First Lady’s entourage during the inspection of the facilities including the Kitchens

A total of 2000 athletes of various disciplines are expected in Nairobi in July where they will be representing over 150 countries from all over the world.

At the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) where most of the games will take place, W-U18 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chief Executive Officer of the championships Mwangi Muthee said the renovations being undertaken at the facility are on course and assured the First Lady that his team is sure to meet the deadlines.

Besides the sporting fraternity drawn globally, thousands of other visitors are also expected in the country to have a first-hand experience of Kenya, a country recognized internationally as a powerhouse of long distance runners.

During the previous 9 editions of the IAAF W-U18 championships held in Poland, Germany, Canada, Morocco, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Ukraine and Colombia, Kenya always emerged between positions 1-3 beating many other world sporting giants.

At the inaugural 1999 IAAF W-U18 championships in Poland, Kenya emerged position one after beating 150 other countries, a feat Kenyan Athletes repeated in 2009 when they retained position 1 in Italy after thrashing 169 other countries.

Kenya emerged in position 2 in other international championships in 2001(Germany), 2005 (Morocco), 2007 (Czech Republic), 2011 (France), 2013 (Ukraine) and 2015 in Colombia.

Only once in 2003 was Kenya relegated to position 3 in when 153 countries competed in Canada.

Sporting enthusiasts are optimistic that no country can beat Kenya (in Athletics) at home during the forthcoming championships.

The First Lady launched the IAAF World U-18 championships website on February 28 at Kasarani.

During the launch, the First Lady said the championships provide a great opportunity to recognize and appreciate the diverse sporting abilities of youth from across the world, Kenya included.

-Material sourced from PSCU

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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