IAAF: Terrorism attacks won’t deter World U-20

By Denis Okeyo: Friday, January 18th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sports
Jackie Brock-Doyle (left) Executive Director communications IAAF and Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei during a press conference at Kasarani Stadium on Jan 17, 2019

With 535 days to Nairobi World Under-20 Championships, IAAF have con fidence in Kenya’s security systems even after Tuesday’s terror attack at Riverside hotel in Nairobi.

Yesterday, delegation from the world athletics governing body said they are optimistic that Nairobi would stage a successful IAAF World Under-20 Championships at Kasarani Stadium on July 7-12 next year.

The IAAF team of 14 led by Head of Event Operations Toni Jorba, Executive Director of Communications Jackie Brock-Doyle, Chief Information Officer Dang Duy, Platforms and Distribution Operations Manager Frederick Sanchez, Mark Fulton had day-long meetings with the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya officials.

“We were impressed when this country hosted World Under-18 in 2017. And now we are confident Kenya will host another successful World Under-20, which is bigger event compared to Under-18. 

 “We are aware of the terror attack. But such kind of insecurity threats happen all over the world. It’s was not a new case and the response was great. It instills confidence to the rest of the world and it will not prevent Kenya from hosting another great event,” said Brock-Doyle.

In 2017, United States of America and five other countries pulled out of the IAAF World Under-18 Athletics Championships citing insecurity but Kenya went ahead to stage a successful event that well over 60,000 spectators packed Kasarani Stadium. 

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“In 2017, different countries gave different reasons of not coming to Nairobi’s competitions. Other country opted to take the team to Youth Olympics. But the Under-20 Championships is bigger and many would like to participate. So we expect the 160 member countries to come here in Nairobi next year,” Brock-Doyle added. 

The Government and Athletics Kenya assured the visiting IAAF Delegation security guarantees following Riverside attack on Tuesday in which 21 people were killed and scores injured. 

“The attack was not new. Kenya is safe country to every one visiting,” he said.

The two-day meeting sets roadmap to staging a success global event,” said AK President Jackson Tuwei.

Kassim Farah, the Secretary Administration at Sports Ministry, reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the event: “We have pride in hosting this event. In 2017, we learnt some lessons and this time, we will make it even better. The government will provide all the necessary support.”