Begin U-20 tourney preparations early

On Thursday, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) gave a nod for Kenya to continue with preparations for the 18th edition of the World Under-20 Championships next year. The move came just two days after the terrorist attacks at 14 Riverside Drive, Nairobi, where more than 20 innocent people were killed.

The IAAF said they have confidence in Kenya’s security systems and the attack won’t derail efforts to host the global showpiece. In 2017, USA and other five nations pulled out of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships held in Nairobi citing security concerns, but Kenya remained unbowed and staged the biggest event in the history of World Under-18 Championships.

From the experience, the six countries should now borrow a leaf from the IAAF and travel to Kenya for the competition. Before all these, the government and the Athletics Kenya must start preparations early enough. The World Under-20 is bigger than the World Under-18 we hosted in 2017. There is need to put in place infrastructure in advance to avoid last-minute rush. This is an opportunity to prove to visitors that Kenya is secure.

IAAF gave the Ministry of Sports 30 days to constitute a Local Organising Committee (LOC), which they should move with speed to remain within schedule. Participants in the under-20 championships are mostly secondary students and few primary school pupils and more energy should be directed to school competitions. The contest is timely after the gazettement of seven-member Sports, Art and Social Development Fund board that has former Vice President Moody Awori as chairman.

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IAAFInternational Association of Athletics FederationsWorld Under-20 Championships