After successfully staging the 2017 World Under-18 Athletics Championships, Kenya is preparing to host the World U-20 event in July next year.
The country is also bidding to stage two other high-profile athletics events — the new World Athletics Continental Tour and the 2025 World Athletics Championships.
World Athletics (formerly International Association of Athletics Federations — IAAF) will organise the Tour, a series of one-day meetings distinct from the Diamond League, from next year.
It will feature nine Golden Label events between May and September in different countries.
Kenya hopes to host the 10th event in May — the perfect dry run for 2020 World U-20 event slated for July 7-12 at Moi International Sports Complex-Kasarani, Nairobi.
Hosting such global competitions will put Kenya in the global limelight with a lot of benefits for local sports people and the economy.
But the country must do more than just bidding to host these events.
Hosting such global competitions needs huge investments on infrastructure, yet its sports facilities are wanting.
The MISC, which has been earmarked to host the two competitions, is in a pathetic state yet millions of shillings have been spent over the years in renovating the sports arena.
The slow pace of preparations for World U-20 event is also a major source of concern, given the government’s delay in releasing funds.
Event organisers have also fallen behind in laying out a synthetic training track at Kenyatta University, where the athletes will reside and train during the event.
Kenya should take note that, with Africa’s turn to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships coming in 2025, countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco that already have modern facilities will also bid to host the event. The time to act is now.
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