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Security arrangement at World Under-20 Athletics Championships leaves many satisfied

SPORTS By Odero Charles | August 24th 2021
A Mascot known as Jabali dances during the official opening of World Athletics Under 20 Championships at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on August 17, 2021. [Stafford Ondego]

The security arrangement at the just-concluded World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi was an incident-free event, thanks to a team of police officers,officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) and Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU).

Security and a surge in coronavirus cases in the country were a major cause of concern before the five-day event that featured more than 100 countries, including the refugee team and neutral athletes, who competed under the World Athletics flag.

To guarantee a smooth World Under-20 Athletics Championships, the Kenyan government had put in place adequate security arrangements before and during the event.

All those who were present at the event had to also scan their card for the Covid-19 negative result in order to have access to the competition venue.

The competitors at the event had their designated entrance, while organisers, journalists, technical officials and volunteers used one gate where they were tested daily. The passes were restricted, so one could not move around the stadium.

FILE: A police officer drawn from GSU who was mandated to control human traffic at Gusii Stadium during Mashujaa Day celebrations helps 99 year old John Ombae who hails from Nyamira to go through security checks and eventually led him to his seat.. (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)

There was no major security threat recorded during and after the event contrary to five countries - Germany, China, USA, Britain, Japan, and New Zealand - who withdrew from the championship due to security concerns and the surge in coronavirus cases.

Kiprono Bunei, the events security director and National Police Athletics chairman, told Standard Sports that the country held an incident-free event because police officers, officers from GSU and RDU among others were deployed to enhance the security before and during the event.

“The event started well and ended well, the security arrangement was so successful. No single incident was reported during the event by both guests and Kenyans who attended the championships,” Security Chief Bunei said.

“From the moment the international guests started arriving, their movement across the city, hotel, and competition venue was uninterrupted. I want to thank all those who were involved in the organization from GSU, RDU, traffic police, and the NYS, for the wonderful work done.”

Volunteers queue for Covid-19 testing at Moi International Sports Center - Kasarani in Nairobi on August 11, 2021 ahead of the 2021 World Athletics U20 Championships,  [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

In some of the notable statistics, the championships saw 18 countries win gold medals (nine from Europe, six from Africa, three from the Americas) with Israel and Namibia registering their first world Under-20 champions victory; Yonathan Kapitolnik in men’s high jump and Christine Mboma in women’s 200m.

The championships held amid Covid-19 pandemic, saw organisers ensure the health and safety of the participants was adhered to by conducting over 5000 LAMP tests and 4000 PCR tests.

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