IAAF steps into Nairobi 2017 World Under-18 organisation

IAAF head of Events Management, Carlo Daengu (2nd r) listens as LOC technical director, Ibrahim ...
IAAF head of Events Management, Carlo Daengu (2nd r) listens as LOC technical director, Ibrahim Hussein (2nd r) explains during his inspection tour of Safaricom Stadium with LOC boss, Mwangi Muthee (right) . PHOTO/Charity Wanja

World governing body, the IAAF will send a manager to the country to oversee the progress and support the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Nairobi 2017 World Under-18 Championships.

The IAAF boss is expected in the country with a fortnight as Kenya scrambles to be ready to host the final edition of the global track and field showpiece open to athletes aged 16 and 17 after the General Congress ruled to scrap the biennial competition.

Speaking during a tour of the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday, IAAF Council Member and technical delegate, Sylvia Barlag noted that while the country was making positive strides towards ensuring every thing is in place ahead of the championships the LOC had been sluggish and was a bit off schedule.

“We are impressed by the commitment from LOC members and the Government but I can’t say that they are on course to meet the set milestones in set timelines. We understand that there must be challenges along the way but what is important is there is positive progress.

“We want to read from the same script with the LOC especially on logistical matters and that’s why we’re sending someone that will assist them in meeting these projected milestones. We are not trying to police anyone and this is something we have always done even in European countries,” Barlag stated.

Barlag added that the main focus was not only in ensuring a successful competition but also in leaving behind a legacy in the country’s athletics.

“I have seen the drive within LOC members and we believe that with their will comes a way. I have seen the facilities in Kenyatta University (KU) and they’re impressive as well. Refurbishments are being done to the Nyayo dorms and that is just one of the good things we’ll leave behind for the next generation of students.

“The facilities that are being bought will enable Kenya stage other championships at national and continental level and that’s something we can be proud of once the event is ends,” Barlag explained.

An optimistic LOC CEO Mwangi Muthee assured the country will hold a successful competition, saying that they will stage a pre-trial event next year in April.

“We’re talking about being ready in by April and by that I mean in venue preparation, warm up areas, athletes accomodation and at the athletes’ village, the competition service for track and field and also by office space needed by IAAF and SEIKO.

“There will six halls of residence at the Kenyatta University athletes’ village and to make the construction faster, there will be six different contractors for the job so I’m sure we will beat the set timelines”

He added that a meeting between LOC, the office of the President and the treasury over the KSh3 billion required to host a successful had been rescheduled following the visit by IAAF officials.
“We are fast-tracking the procurement of several services and I am happy with the support from other ministries including the office of the President,” Muthee told Citizen Digital.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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