IAAF World under-18 Championship patron and Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is optimistic that Kenya will host a successful competition.
This comes two days after IAAF media delegates, Olaf Brockmann and Lavinia Maffia also gave Kenya the nod at the conclusion of a three-day tour.
They inspected the press centre, mixed zone, athletes’ hostels and press tribune areas where they were satisfied with the progress.
Kenyatta was speaking during the official launch of the championship website (www.wu18nairobi2017.com) on Tuesday where results and news of the championship, slated for July 12-17 at Kasarani Stadium will be instantly available.
“This important platform will serve as the nerve centre of the championships by providing information to participants, stakeholders and the thousands of visitors that will be in the country for the event. I congratulate the LOC and stakeholders for their energy and commitment in ensuring that we have successful championship,” she stated.
Kenyatta also appealed to Team Kenya to represent the country well and promised she would offer them support as patron.
“It is a historic moment for our country and the East African region. I see this as an opportunity to celebrate, applaud and recognize the diverse talent that we have. Every competitor deserves to be seen because I believe that age does not define ability."
"With hard work, perseverance, determination anyone however young can achieve their goals. We are especially proud of the young Kenyan athletes who even now are preparing for competition. I want to wish them the very best and my full support. I am doing everything necessary as patron to ensure the success of the games,” she concluded.
The First Lady is confident
Having toured the facilities last week at Kenyatta University and the competition area at Kasarani Stadium, the First Lady is confident that the actualizations of the logistical and operational plans are well on course to complete the work required.
Lt. Gen Jackson Tuwei (Rtd), the LOC Chairman said they have started training technical officials in preparations for the championship.
The first group of 30 out of an expected total of 200 had their first session at the weekend led by head of Regional Development Centre Ibrahim Hussein and lead instructor Vivian Kungram from Mauritius.
Tuwei also gave a brief breakdown of key timelines in the build-up to the competition after revealing that Athletics Kenya and IAAF had already sent invitations to all the 214 member countries for the championships.
The qualifying period started on October 1, 2016 and will run up to July 3, 2017. The preliminary entries by member countries participating are to be submitted to AK and IAAF for planning purposes. This will basically entail a rough number of athletes and the entire contingent for purposes of planning.
The final entries will be submitted by 27th June to know the exact number of participants and other subsequent logistics.
Also in attendance were Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Principal Secretary Richard Ekai. Wario backed the LOC in their drive to pull the strings together for last edition of the youth championships at this age group as IAAF targets more regional based competitions.
“We are on the right track with eleven contractors on site and IAAF delegates have also been satisfied with the progress. We are on the verge of delivering a world class event and we are looking at April 30 as the date when work stops and pave way for us to conduct a mock run,” Wario said.