World U20 preps intensify with 2,000 athletes expected in Nairobi


Athletes during athletics trials for World Under 18 and Africa Under 20 Championship at the Nyayo national ...
FILE: Athletes during athletics trials for World Under 18 and Africa Under 20 Championship at the Nyayo national stadium on June 13, 2017. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha/Citizen

In Summary

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Kenya is targeting to host at least 160 countries at the World under 20 Championships slated for August 17-22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani as preparations for the competition gather momentum.

The countdown continues in earnest with just 156 left to the biannual event that was initially planned for last year before it was delayed by a year due to Covid-19 crisis.

While briefing the media on Monday, the event’s Steering and Local Organising Committee assured Kenya is on course to hosting a successful event in the summer.

LOC chair Jackson Tuwei said they are focused on retaining the global title Kenya won at the 2018 Championships held in Tampere, Finland. Kenya topped the global medal standings with six gold, four silver and one bronze.

“It will be the first World Under-20 event to be held on African soil. We expect to have at least 2,000 participants and at least 160 countries to grace the event. In the last Championships we were ranked top in the world and we hope to maintain that at home,” said Tuwei.

Tuwei who doubles as the President of Athletics Kenya said in order to dominate the global event, the federation will leave nothing to chance in terms of preparing the junior athletes.

“We will have probable athletes likely to make the team to be placed in various training camps during the upcoming holidays in order to sharpen them ahead of the main trials,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer for the event Mike Rabar said the delay provided an adequate opportunity to host a more successful event.

“We have to put our best foot forward and guarantee the world the best competition ever. Preparations for the event have gained momentum amid the disruption by the pandemic and thus we are still on course,” said Rabar.

In a speech delivered by Cabinet Administrative Secretary Simon Kachapin, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed assured the country of government’s support towards the global event.

Amina disclosed that the ministry was allocated Sh332 million for the refurbishment of Kasarani Stadium in addition to Sh1.5 billion allocated for the World Under-20 event.

Having hosted a successful Kip Keino leg of the inaugural Classic Continental Tour last year amid the pandemic, Amina is confident Kenya will pull all stops to deliver another world class event.

“We want to build on our success of hosting the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour which attracted the most diverse field of athletes with 30 nations represented. We demonstrated to the world our ability to implement to the latter the strict Covid-19 competition protocols and we shall stop at nothing in ensuring we deliver a successful World Under-20,” said Amina.

Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina urged for speedy completion of structures at the institution which will serve as the Games Village for a second time after the 2017 World Under-18 Championships.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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