Kenya to host IAAF U20 Championships in 2020

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Kenya is set to host the IAAF World Athletics U20 Championships in 2020.

The International sports body on Thursday said Nairobi’s candidacy was formally endorsed by the IAAF Council.

The IAAF in a statement said Kenya demonstrated its readiness after successfully hosting the U18 edition last year.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on his Twitter page thanked the sports body, saying Kenya is ready to charm the World.

“Kenya is the home of Athletics. We appreciate the decision by IAAF to select Nairobi as the host city of the World U20 championships to be held on July 7 -12, 2020. Athletics is our way of life. Magical Kenya is ready to charm the world.”  Uhuru tweeted.

The 2017 event which took place in July was praised by the IAAF President Sebastian Coe who termed the competitions impressive and the standards very high.

“The U20 Championships showcases the future of our sport so Kenya, with a young and enthusiastic population and such a rich history in athletics, is a perfect fit for us,” Coe said.

“We hope that awarding these championships will further encourage the development of athletics in Kenya and all over Africa, which is such a vibrant part of our international federation.”

A total of 131 countries participated in the five-day event which recorded the highest turn out in a youth and junior championship.

Crowds of up to 60,000 attended the U18 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, creating an exciting atmosphere for the young athletes who had gathered from around the globe.

Kenya finished fourth having bagged a total of 15 medals; four gold, seven silver and four bronze.

Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia visited the IAAF headquarters in Monaco where he noted that 42 per cent of Kenya’s population was under 15 (only 17 per cent over 50) and sport was a vital component in the country’s development.

“Athletics is a very important part of our life. Everyone loves athletics in Kenya. You saw it during the world under 18 and you will see it again in 2020,” he said.

Sports CS Rashid Echesa assured that the ministry would work to make sure proper plans, structures and systems are put in place to ensure the global event runs smoothly and successfully.

“On behalf of Kenyan Government, I assure you that we will ensure that we put our best foot forward and put the necessary plans, systems and structures in place to ensure that the event runs smoothly and successfully. We welcome the World to Kenya,” Echesa said.

President of Athletics Kenya Jackson Tuwei said the decision was a great honour to the sports fraternity especially all the heroic athletes.

“It is indeed a great honour to us all, particularly the great athletes who have significantly contributed to the development of world athletics over the years. All are welcomed back to Kenya, the home of heroes.”

 

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Brian Adero