IAAF CEO Olivier Gers is this week in the Kenyan capital for a site visit ahead of next month’s IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017.
Accompanied by LOC Chair Jackson Tuwei and CEO Michael Mwangi Muthee, Gers visited the competition and training venues at the Moi International Sports Centre and was shown around Kenyatta University where the athletes will be accommodated.
After a slight delay to the installation of the new synthetic track at the stadium while the material was stuck in customs, work is now well under way and the LOC is confident the tracks will be ready in time for the championships on 12-16 July. The LOC is also working to implement the necessary security measures to deliver a safe and secure environment for the athletes.
“A huge amount of work has gone into the preparation of these championships and I want to thank the organising committee and everyone in Nairobi and across Kenya for the work they have put in,” said Gers. “The athletes will love competing in this beautiful stadium and I hope the fans will give them the loudest of cheers.
“We have the final push in the weeks ahead, finishing off, tidying up and making sure all the final elements are in place. It’s like a house; it almost takes longer to put the finishing touches on the house and to make everything right than to actually build it.”
Mwangi Mathee confirmed that the LOC is now approaching the final stages of the preparations.
“It has been like a fairy tale; we have seen it all,” he said. “But the most wonderful thing is that we are now heading to the final phase and that we can see the fruits of our labour and I am very proud of the team.
“I’d like the IAAF and the government of Kenya to make sure that the work and the legacy of the investment hasn’t been done in vain. We should look beyond 2017 and make Nairobi a sports centre.”
The IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 will be the first global track and field championships to be held in Kenya. It will also be the final edition of the World U18 Championships as the IAAF’s focus will shift towards driving regional and continental competitions.
“What we want first to be remembered is the quality of competition,” said Gers. “We want to make sure we leave behind a lasting legacy for athletics, for the country of Kenya and for the whole region. To have a vibrant, modern equipped stadium that can be reused in future championships is quite critical.”