Nairobi Under-20 Championships preps to continue


Nairobi Under-20 Championships preps to continue
Edward Zakayo leads the pack in 3,000m boys race during their WU18 championship at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi in July 13, 2017. Photo/Oliver Ananda/Sportpicha

The preparations for the World Under-20 Championships as well as the World Athletics Continental Tour will proceed despite the postponement of the events.

Kenya was set to host the two global events at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani but have since been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus.

The newly introduced World Continental Tour, which Kenya was set to host the first leg on May 2 has since been pushed to September while the Under-20 Championships that was earmarked for July 7-12 was postponed indefinitely.

Prior to the spread of the virus, the Organizing Committees of the two events had already hit the ground running as they got the country ready to host yet another high magnitude events since 2017 when Kenya hosted the World Under-18 Championships.

Among other works was the renovation of Kasarani Stadium which was set to be closed at the end of March.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi region chairman Barnaba Korir who is also the race director for the Nairobi World Continental Tour meet revealed that while preparations will continue, the Junior Championships are unlikely to be held this year.

“We had a meeting on Friday via teleconferencing and because of the current situation we decided to postpone the World Continental Tour to September but for the Under-20 it will not be held this year. We will come up with a new date which will probably be 2021.

As per the plans of the government, the preparations will go on because the events were not cancelled,” said Korir.
Korir who also doubles as the chairman of AK Youth Committee disclosed that they will be engaging the government in order to reschedule the planned holiday camp for the Under-20 prospects which was due for April.

“We had a very successful camp programme during the December holiday and we were planning to have the prospective athletes to make the national team on camp again this April. We will however negotiate with the government to allow us to shift the programme to the next holiday when hopefully this pandemic will be over,” he said.

With all the athletics training camps in the country closed following a directive from the government, Korir has urged the athletes to continue with their individual training and focus ahead of a busy 2021.

“I know it is very difficult now for athletes since almost all events for this year have been postponed. I want to urge them to remain focused and follow the guidelines by the Ministry of Health and stay safe always. Make sure they train alone and avoid groups,” said Korir.

Since the spread of the virus, major sporting activities have been postponed or cancelled including the Olympic Games which have since been delayed until 2021.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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