Nairobi 2017 World Youth on course despite budget miss
Preparations for the 2017 Nairobi IAAF World Youth Championships are still on course despite the biennial age track and field showpiece not getting any allocations in the 2016 budget read by Finance Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich on Wednesday.
Speaking to Citizen Digital ahead of an inspection team from IAAF that arrives in Nairobi next week, his Sports, Arts and Culture counterpart, Dr. Hassan Wario assured the event that is set for July 12 to 16 will be held as scheduled.
“The Ksh2 billion budget for the World Youth was approved by a Cabinet Notice in December and already, Ksh700m have been released to the Local Organising Committee.
“We will stage a spectacular event next year as planned and there is nothing to be worried about. I’m sure the IAAF inspectors will be impressed with what we have in place. This event is not part of the national budget spending,” the Minister told Citizen Digital on Thursday.
Rotich allocated Ksh1.9b to be split between the Sports, Arts and Culture departments of the Ministry, down from the Ksh6b in the 2015 budget that factored in the construction of three new stadiums that are yet to get off the ground.
Speaking on the World Youth, LOC chairman, Mwangi Muthee, stated they had moved into high gear and progress on the preparations would be announced next week.
“Yes, we are well underway and we have managed to set down the initial structures in the secretariat. The Government gave us the initial funding to get us off. The only thing is that we have a lot to catch up on.
“The delay was caused by releasing of the funds but we will do our best to ensure the event is held as planned,” the former Kenya Rugby Union chairman explained.
“Of course, we are a bit behind schedule but we have gone as far as setting up the secretariat offices at (Safaricom Stadium) Kasarani and what remains is branding. Some members of the LOC were changed but now it is set up and functional.
“We are expecting the IAAF inspectors here next week to give us guidelines but we are progressing well. The issues in the LOC were ironed out,” LOC member and Athletics Kenya president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei added.
In the 2015/2016 financial year budgetary, Ksh1.8 billion was allocated for the construction of new stadia in Eldoret, Mombasa and Nairobi in effort to increase the country’s sporting prowess.
Though prime land for construction of the three stadia has been identified, feasibility study completed and designs done construction is yet to start.
According to the plan by Sports Kenya, the Nairobi Stadium is set to be located along Ngong Road and will be a state of the art rugby, football and entertainment facility with a seating capacity of 44,000.
The Mombasa and Eldoret stadia will each have a seating capacity of 21, 000 with room for expansion that would increase the seating capacity to 31, 000.
During the 2013 General Elections campaigns, the Jubilee coalition had pledged to construct five stadia by the end of their first term in office a promise that was contained in its manifesto.
“We will build five new national sports stadiums in Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Garissa, while upgrading existing sporting facilities at the County level to accommodate swimming, tennis, basketball and rugby,” read the manifesto.
The Safaricom Stadium was chosen as the venue of the World Youth owing to the logistical challenges of turning Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium to the level required to host an international event having staged the 2010 Africa Athletics Championships.
Besides renovating the stadium, work also needs to be done on the practise track and brining in equipment for track and field equipment specified for athletes between 16 and 17 years such as hurdles, Javelin and High jump landing mattresses.
Report by Edward Mokuah
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