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Preparation for next year’s African

By | July 16th 2009

Athletics Championships is long overdue

Hosting international sports events is considered a blessing to hosting nations. Many of them see such opportunity as a rare chance to market themselves to the world and get any economic gains that accrue from hosting such events such as tourism.

Their preparation for the events begin with sensitising citizens who could be interested in offering essential services such as accommodation to prepare in time, as well as putting infrastructural facilities in place.

South Africa, for example, started preparing for the 2010 Fifa World Cup years ahead of the event. The preparations, which have culminated in the country successfully hosting the Confederations Cup, also earned Fifa President Sepp Blatter’s approval. The South Africans not only see the global football extravaganza in terms of entertainment, but also as a rare business opportunity that could boost their economy. This explains why their government is ready to invest huge sums in essential infrastructure in readiness for the world. Theirs private sector, especially the tourism and hotel industry, are not left out either.

Kenya is preparing to host the 17th African Athletics Championships in Nairobi between April 28 and May 2 next year. Surprisingly, Sports Ministry and Athletics Kenya (AK) have done nothing substantial in sensitising interested parties on the benefits likely to accrue from hosting the continental event.

The Sports ministry and AK must not view preparation for the event in terms of upgrading the venues and training winning teams only. They should also consider the economic implications hosting the event is likely to have on Kenya.

They must not wait until the last minute to ambush hoteliers and other essential service providers. Preparation for the continental event should have begun a long time ago.

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