Turnout at Kasarani proves that sport can unite Kenya

I celebrate the record-setting 50,000 crowd of spectators at the IAAF World Under -18 Championships at Safaricom Kasarani Stadium. This sea of humanity at the weekend was unprecedented.

The organisers have confirmed that not only was it a record crowd, the event was also the best coordinated WU-18 Championships. I am proud to be Kenyan.

As I sat in the 50,000-capacity stadium, I could not resist the temptation of patting myself on the back for coming out in solidarity with the country’s great sportsmen and women, who have flown our national flag in world sport arenas.

As I followed the event, it did not matter to me if Kenyan athletes were winning or not. I did not care who won gold, silver, or bronze medal; all I cared about was the Nairobi crowd that set the world record.

The mere fact that the stadium was full was satisfying enough. Kenyan athletes felt as if the whole country was at Kasarani to cheer them to the podium finish. Kenyans of all walks of life came out in their numbers to cheer their homegrown world beaters.

For years, we have been reduced to following such events from the ‘discomfort’ of our television sets. But this time round the world had come to Kenya. We demonstrated to the world that Kenya indeed is the home of athletics.

It is little things like this that make our country the envy of others. That Kenya can host the IAAF WU-18 championships is testimony enough that we are truly a sporting giant.

The magnificent organisational skills witnessed at the venue were unmatched. That is Kenya for you. The athletic event in Nairobi has given Kenya free international mileage. This could not have come at a better time than now, when the country is headed for elections.

The international lenses will confirm to the world that our country is largely peaceful despite the election fever. The international media that amplifies our dark side has a rare opportunity to cross-check their facts before going to print.

When all this is done, the world will begin viewing Kenya differently. The narrative of poverty and terrorism will be erased