World Athletics has announced new dates for the World Under-20 Championships which were to be held in Nairobi last month but postponed due to Covid-19.
The event will be held on August 17 to 22, 2021 in Nairobi, which means we must move with speed to ensure adequate preparations and avoid last-minute rush. We have witnessed cases before – like the 2010 Africa Senior Athletics Championships held at Nyayo Stadium – where preparations almost run behind schedule.
And now that the event will incur the taxpayer additional costs due to the pandemic, we must make early arrangements to bring in more equipment to meet coronavirus protocols set by the World Athletics.
Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo has assured us that the procurement process has started and the Treasury has released funds.
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But more is needed for the global showpiece. Since most athletes expected to make the team are largely secondary school students, Athletics Kenya (AK) through their respective junior coaches, who are majorly teachers, must keep track of those they had identified for the national team.
The situation is tricky given the fact they dealing with young minds. The government and AK should also find ways to help the athletes with training equipment and have close contacts with their parents as they monitor their training.
AK should work closely with Kenya Primary Schools Sports Association and the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association on the young sports boys and girls ahed of the tournament. The 2017 World Under-18 contest should serve as a model for World Athletics in the junior category.