Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Tuesday inspected the IAAF World Under-18 Championships’ games village at Kenyatta University and expressed his satisfaction at the progress of renovation works so far.
He was taken on an extensive tour of the hostels, kitchens, recreation halls, athletes’ anti-doping rooms and the brand new tartan training track which is under construction.
He was accompanied on the tour by his sports counterpart Hassan Wario, Kenyatta University acting vice chancellor Paul Wainaina and the championships’ chief executive Mwangi Muthee along with well over 30 members of the Local Organising Committee.
Kenya is racing against time to be ready for the July 12 to 16 championships that will be the last edition of the under-18 global competitions.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will focus on continental age-group competitions after the final gathering in Nairobi.
Over Sh800 million is being spent on renovations at Kenyatta University’s Nyayo hostels were approximately 3,000 athletes and officials will be housed during the games.
The university will also house a media centre, theatre and gymnasium where the athletes will train. “We are on course to complete the athletes village as per the IAAF standards and we have increased the manpower working around the clock to deliver the games village,” Wainaina said.
Nkaissery expressed his satisfaction with the work done so far and assured the country that all security and games preparation measures were in place to deliver a world class championship.
“I’m here to assure you that we will be ready to host the games and all preparations are on course,” the minister said.
Wario highlighted the fact that the championships will leave a legacy, saying the once the games are over, Kenyatta University will inherit world class facilities that will enable Kenya to be considered to host future international games.
Meanwhile, some Kenyan youth have the desire to emulate their track counterparts by writing history in field and technical events at the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.
Budding athletes from Keringet Training Camp in Kuresoi South, Nakuru and Lemotit Athletics Camp in Londiani, Kericho, are confident of good shows despite the various challenges they faced during April’s camps.
Keringet and Lemotit are some of the centres that hosted probable athletes for training ahead of the world under-18 competition.
Similar camps were held April, August and December last year.
The large turnout was witnessed in field events, a manifestation that the country could just produce another surprise like World champions Julius Yego (javelin), Nicholas Bett (400 metres hurdles) or legendary Elizabeth Olaba (shot putt).
From the over 123 young athletes who turned out in Keringet, 30 of them are medal hopefuls.
Among them are regional secondary schools champion Nicholas Cheruiyot (javelin) and regional primary school champion Joy Cherotich (long jump).
Cherotich is also the national primary schools 400m hurdles silver medallist.
Also in the mix is Vincent Koech, who won bronze for Kenya in javelin at regional secondary schools games.
Keringet has produced some of Kenya’s top athletes in the likes of the Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich, Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui, 2016 Diamond League 800m series winner Ferguson Rotich and Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui.
Athletics Kenya Nakuru County chairman Kimutai Ng’etich noted that they registered athletes in all the field events. They were drawn from Kericho, Bomet, Baringo, Narok, Laikipa and Nandi.