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Kenya draw on World U18, U20 for World Championship bid

Sports PS Joe Okudo met officials from World Athletics Bid Evaluation panel and assured them of the country's readiness to host the 2025 edition

In Summary

•Holding the World Under 20 under the strenuous circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic was a learning experience 

•Okudo further promised that environmental sustainability will be a core theme in the preparations and hosting 

• AK president Jack Tuwei said Africa will benefit immensely should Kenya's bid be accepted

AK president Jack Tuwei with members of World Athletics Bid Evaluation panel at Moi Stadium, Kasarani
AK president Jack Tuwei with members of World Athletics Bid Evaluation panel at Moi Stadium, Kasarani
Image: HANDOUT

Sports principal secretary Joe Okudo says they have gleaned vital lessons from Kenya's hosting of the World Under 18 and Under 20 Championship to guarantee a world-class staging of the 2025 World Championships. 

Okudo said holding the World Under 20 under the strenuous circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic was an experience that will work to the country's advantage were it to be granted hosting rights for athletics' biggest show. 

"I wish to note that we learned a lot of lessons during the World Under-18 Championships in 2017 and last year’s World U20 event, which was organised in a challenging pandemic time," he said. 

The PS added: "The Government realised logistics delay in bond processing as an area to improve on and will provide a letter of guarantee to the Customs authority to eliminate the red tape associated with the previous bond process, hence faster clearing of shipments."

Okudo further promised that environmental sustainability will be a core theme in the preparations and hosting of the World Championship, noting that Athletics Kenya and the ministry are already making concrete efforts to improve air quality during major championships in Kenya. 

"Athletics Kenya became the first member federation to join World Athletics in signing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We also conducted a successful Clean air campaign during the U20championship and now have established this as one of the legacies. Athletics Kenya, UNEP and Stockholm Environment Institute have set up Air quality sensors at our two stadiums (Kasarani and Nyayo)," he said. 

The PS was speaking during a meeting with officials from the World Athletics Bid Evaluation panel who were in the country to assess Kenya's readiness to host the event. 

The officials — Antti Pihlakoski (Chairman & WA Council member), Ximena Restrepo (WA Council member), Nawal El Moutawakel (WA Council member) as well as Jakob Larsen, Niels Lindholm, Mark Hurst, and Nigel Swinscoe — visited the 60,000-seater Moi Stadium Kasarani, training pitches and assessed transport infrastructure, hotels and traffic flow in the city. 

At the same time, AK president Jack Tuwei said Africa will benefit immensely should Kenya's bid be accepted. 

"We also thank our athletes across the continent who have come out strongly to support Kenya. In the words of Haile Gebresselasie, ‘Kenya is capable and if Kenya hosts, then Africa has hosted," Tuwei said. 

He also congratulated the bidding committee, chaired by AK vice president Fatma Awale, for a job well done so far. 

"A team was set up to work on the pre-bid documents and we were pleased to have moved to the qualified bidders' stage. This enabled the formation of the bidding committee," he said. 

Kenya will be hoping to ward off the challenge of other bidders — Singapore, Japan and Poland — to become the first African nation to host a World Championship.