IAAF defend Nairobi 2017 World U18 safety
Visiting IAAF officials delivered a kind assessment of the country’s state of security in what is an uplifting preview of the 2017 Nairobi World Under 18 Championships that has been rocked by nations exit over safety concerns.
The delegates from the world athletics governing body’s Communications Department have been on a four-day inspection tour of the competition’s media facilities as well assessing readiness of host stadium Moi Sports International Center, Kasarani and the Athletes’ Village in Kenyatta University.
Speaking during a press conference held at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday, the officials – Press Delegate, Olaf Brockmann and Media Operations Manager Lavinia Maffia – approved plans put in place by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to ensure efficient coverage of the global showpiece by local and international media.
“We know that this event will depend a lot on the media so as to be a success .This will definitely become possible because all tools they need are there. Not only that but the media centers are also fantastic and facilities are in great shape,” Brockman said.
His counterpart Maffia noted the role of the media in popularising the competition while adding its success largely depended on publication efforts of key events by the local media.
“You see this is an event for future world stars but if I were to be asked the local media’s role here is undisputed. You’ll be surprised to find it helping LOC CEO Mwangi Muthee easily fill up the stadium,” Maffia said.
She added that accreditation for the local media would be done via LOC before and subsequently approved by IAAF with that for International Media conducted solely by the IAAF.
In context of the withdrawal of New Zealand, Britain, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the USA from the event, Brockman labelled the security concerns raised by the six nations unfounded as he went on to disclose his upset at the exit of champions USA.
“I was shocked when USA opted out .For the past four days what I have seen and learnt is that everything is secure. It’s crystal clear that security has been beefed up starting from the hotel, venue and village,” he said.
He however maintained their pull out will not whittled down the competitiveness that will be witnessed at the four-day championships.
“I don’t understand why people are so disturbed by the absence of USA. Look at the last Championships, there wasn’t any single USA splinter in the final. This simply means that they are the least of our concerns. Let’s concentrate on nations that will participate, that is the group we will work with,” he insisted.
Muthee also announced that the LOC would provide a shuttle for the transportation of media personnel to and from Hotels, City center, Stadium and Village.
-Report by Mwangi Githinji.
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