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Celebration after bid win: AK rivals unite as Kenya prepares to stage 2017 WYC

By FEVERPITCH TEAM | November 20th 2014
Kenyan delegation celebrate winning of the bid for 2017 World Youth Championships in Monaco on Tuesday.

Celebrations reverberated across the Kenyan athletics political divide after Kenya successfully won the bid to host the 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships.

After winning the bid that was held in Monaco, on Tuesday evening, Kenya becomes the second African country to host the world event after Morocco did in 2005. The biennial world event started in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where Kenya won 10 medals (5 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze) to be ranked position one overall. The nation has been performing well in each event.

Kenya won overall title in 1999 held in Bydgoszcz, Poland and 2009 in Bressanone, Italy, while USA has a record of five overall titles with Jamaica once.

Kenya also hosted the World Cross Country Championships in 2007 and African Championships in 2010.

Paul Mutwii, who is chairman of AK Southern, speaking on behalf of 14 affiliates, who are challenging AK President Isaiah Kiplagat's authority, congratulated the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Dr Hassan Wario for spearheading the bid and called on all stakeholders to prepare to host the world.

"When we met the Cabinet Secretary last week, we assured him of our total support for the bid. Despite our grievances, we are all Kenyans and we are all looking forward to a successful global competition," said Mutwii, who was accompanied by his counterparts from Nairobi (Barnaba Korir), Eastern (Joseph Kinyua), Police (Jonathan Koskei), Nyanza South (Peter Angwenyi) and former athlete Stephen ole Marai.

The 2008 Olympics 800m gold medalist Alfred Bungei said Kenya has been an athletics powerhouse and deserves to host the world event.

"Kenyan athletes have to show the world that they cannot just run and win medals, but they can host a successful world event," said Bungei, adding that AK and the government should make sure the event is a success.

Janeth Jepkosgei, who competed in the inaugural 1999 event but failed to reach the podium, said it is a good progress for Kenyan athletics.

"It's a good thing for Kenya which has the potential to win team title as the hosting nation," she said.

North Rift Athletics Kenya Chairman, Michael Rotich, said time has come for people with different opinion on Athletics Kenya to support the process to make the 2017 event a success.

He urged the government, coaches, schools and other stakeholders to focus their energies on the world event.

"We need to focus on developing good talents to ensure that we produce a formidable team to conquer the world," said Rotich in Eldoret, adding that making 2017 a success in now the most important thing for Kenya.

The same was echoed by Central Rift AK chairman Abraham Mutai, who said: "We are happy for the government for supporting the bid. This region has the best athletes therefore we have to do our level best to produce a good team."

The two chairmen added that they would create a rapport with schools that have good  students to ensure that they develop the talents.

"Soon, as the region, we will call for a meeting with schools to provide guidance to help us recruit a formidable team to compete in the world event," said Mutai.

Former world youth team manager Joseph Chemureni did not hide his excitement. Chemureni, who managed Kenyan team to the Commonwealth Youth Games in Isle of Man in 2012, said he has reason to smile but AK and the government should come up with good strategy to ensure that proper and early preparations for the event.

"I have to appreciate the team that represented the nation in Monaco, but what is remaining is bigger than that-ensure that we win all medals on offer to prove our worthy as a hosting nation," said Chemureni.

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