Nairobi 2017 gets FLOKE Margaret Kenyatta’s seal of approval
Kenya’s First Lady and event Patron, Margaret Kenyatta today declared that the success of the Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Under-18 Championships will boost chances of the country holding bigger events in the future.
Ms. Kenyatta added she was pleased with the organisation of the July 12 to 16 global showpiece promising to do all she can in supporting the hosting of the track and field event that has seen a number of high profile withdrawals led by champions United State of America.
The First Lady was speaking at the Moi International Sports Complex, Kasarani during the launch of the event’s website www.wu18nairobi2017.com.
Ms Kenyatta who recently cancelled the 2017 edition of the First Lady Half Marathon termed the last running of the World Under-18 as a historic moment for the nation and the East African region which will provide youth around the globe a chance to showcase their talent as future stars of track and field.
She noted the website would play a critical role as the nerve centre that would spearhead communication between participants and attendees.
“This will be the primary point of communication for all proceedings concerning the Championships. It’s through it that information will be relayed.
“That way we will be able to capture the imagination of the whole world. This will surely play a role in making the event a success,” Ms Kenyatta said.
The First Lady declared she was confident everything was on course for the final edition of the biennial showpiece starting with the refurbishment of Kasarani, Athletes’ Village and training venue, Nyayo National Stadium.
“I made a tour of all the facilities that will be used last week and I’m impressed by the progress made. As the Patron, I’m devoted to overseeing a seamless progression of this big event.
“My priority is to have us organize a good competition that will leave tongues wagging and promote the brand of this young nation,” Ms. Kenyatta emphasised.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario hailed the State for throwing its weight behind hosting the World Under-18.
“It’s amazing to see the Government supporting the whole project to its conclusion. They released around Ksh5b. With that amount of money, it shows they are committed to promoting our sports,” he said.
He insisted that the country would deliver a world class event announcing an end of April target to have everything in place.
Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chairman, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei retains hopes the six who have pulled out from Nairobi 2017 that also include Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia and Britain will change their minds and participate.
He explained that preliminary entries for all those willing to take part would arrive starting April 12 until the June 26 deadline.
After that period LOC would have the full details of all countries that will complete plus the names and exact ages of individual athletes.
According to Tuwei, it was appalling to see countries pull out prior to receiving any instructions concerning the championship.
“It’s still too early to rule out the six .You never know, they might decide to perform a U-turn by the time we near July. Although it’s still hard to understand the validity of the reasons they cited it’s a decision only they can make,” Tuwei who is also the Athletics Kenya boss stated.
-Report by Mwangi Githinji
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