In almost nine months, Kenya will host the World Under-20 Championships in Athletics at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, having got the nod to stage the July 7-12 junior event following success with the 2017 World U-18 in Nairobi.
Members of the Steering Committee and Local Organising Committee are attending the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, for benchmarking.
Rarely have these trips helped the country, if the World U-18 event is anything to go by.
The World Athletics almost withdrew the event from Kenya, citing the slow pace of the country’s preparations.
We hope the delegation will learn not only from the well organised Doha event, but the facilities at the event as they will also visit the venues for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
The benchmarking in Doha should, in fact, speed up the preparations for the World U-20, which no one is talking about, yet time is running out.
The main arena at Kasarani is in a deplorable state, with toilets and other basic facilities not functioning.
The warm-up areas are in a pathetic state, with the laying of the tartan track at Kenyatta University, where the athletes’ village will be situated, not complete — embarrassingly, two years later.
The World U-20 secretariat has been set up at Kasarani, but nothing is happening there.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed should now move fast and take control to avoid a last-minute rush that would compromise standards.
The World Athletics will not hesitate to take the event elsewhere if Kenya will not speed up preparations.
Kenya being a major running nation, the government should be aware that the success of the World U-20 event will be key to the country’s successful bid to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships.
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