IAAF gives Nairobi firm approval for World U18 Championships

The finish line of the 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda. (PHOTO/...
The finish line of the 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda. (PHOTO/IAAF)

The Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships has been elevated to the second most important event by the IAAF after the London Championships according the Local Organising Chairman (LOC), Mwangi Muthee.

This comes a day after the International Association of Athletics Federations ( IAAF) officials led by  Carlo di Angeli, Head of Events Operations made sites visit this week specifically timed to oversee the planning and preparation of the World U18 Championships in Nairobi between July 12 to 16.

“The magnitude of organising this five day competition, which will be the second largest athletics competition of the year only surpassed by the world championships in London, should not be underestimated,” Angeli said in a press statement sent to news rooms.

“Last year’s decision to move the competition to Moi Sports Centre in Kasarani to Nyayo National Stadium was a good one. It allowed better facilities and proximity to the athletes’ accommodation at Kenyatta University. With all teams staying at the university this will create a ‘village’ concept with the added safety, comradely, convenience and comfort that brings.”

“There is a lively promotional plan for the championships to activate fans to fill the stadium which has a capacity of 65,000 and during our visit we have experienced excitement around the event at all levels which we find extremely encouraging.”

The IAAF delegation included representatives from a Japanese sporting apparel company, ASICS cooperation, an Official Partner of the IAAF World Athletics Series, IAAF’s Marketing Partner Dentsu and their service company Athletics Management and Services, and IAAF staff and contractors with responsibilities among others for accreditation, broadcasting, events, protocol, teams and ticketing.

Muthee said his committee’s visit over the weekend to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda was an eye opener.

“Kampala put up a wonderfully organised event. And going by the words of the IAAF President Seb Coe, it had vindicated IAAF’s commitment to bring top flight competition to non-traditional centres like Africa,” he said.

“We, in Nairobi, shall endeavor, not only to emulate Uganda, but to serve a competition surpassing those standards.”

Though the championship has faced withdrawals from five countries citing security issues, the LOC expect around 156 countries  with a total of 2,000 athletes and officials showing up for the event.

Muthee pointed out that infrastructure upgrading at the competition venue, Athletes Village, and other relevant facilities has picked up pace. As the contractors work diligently to finish everything ahead of schedule.

“They inspected all relevant facilities and working plans and mapped out for us anything that was outstanding. We want to get it right. This will be an event in the limelight; beamed across the world. We want to have a first class competition and in order to do that; we must have in place all requirements for the technical people who will, be driving the organisation, especially the IAAF technical officials, IAAF partners and local volunteers.”

“We discussed crucial event operations, team services, accommodation and office space utilization for the IAAF Family, media, broadcast and television facilities and accreditation for officials, technical staff, volunteers and media, among other things.”

“All directorates with relevant roles in the championships had their hands full during the meetings with the delegates. We are in the last straight in our preparations and they must be able to report that all milestones in the planning and implementation have been reached. We are fast-approaching the D-Day,” concluded Muthee.

Muthee added that the IAAF delegation visits are beneficial to his committee as they prepare to host the Championships.

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