What you need to know:
- Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei thanked World Athletics for awarding Kenya the hosting rights.
- Kenya will be represented by 46 athletes in various categories as they seek to defend the title won in the last edition in Tampere, Finland.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Tuesday presided over a colourful opening ceremony of the 2021 World Athletics Under-20 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi.
The event, which kicks off proper on Wednesday, will feature more than 100 countries, including the refugee team and neutral athletes, who will be competing under the World Athletics flag.
Pomp, colour, music and fireworks characterised the night event with a handful of people at the 60,000 stadium.
RedFourth Chorus belted out tunes as the teams marched into the refurbished Kasarani as the First Lady and Wold Athletics Seb Coe watched from the VIP dias. The Kenya Police Band was also at hand to play the National Anthem.
The First Lady, who is the patron for the global event, said that holding the World Under-20 event is a milestone for Africa and hopes more events will be held in Kenya.
“I want to thank the stakeholders and media. I’m impressed with the young men and women who want to improve the sport by competing in an exciting event and would like to wish them the very best in various field and track events,” she said.
She also said that athletes competing in such events will be able pursue their dreams not in the sport only, but also academically.
She also asked those participating in the championships to follow the Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols so as to make the event safe and free from the virus.
“I would like to urge all the athletes, officials and all those participating in making the event a success to follow the protocols for the Covid-19 so that we can have a free and healthy championship by the end of five days,” she added,.
Sports CS Amina Mohamed in her statement read by the Principal Secretary, Joe Okudo, said that it has been a long journey planning for the event and was happy that more 100 countries committed to compete in the event.
“The country has supported the athletes in various events including providing training facilities despite the challenges from the pandemic where most of the sports men and women did not train well for a whole year. We are happy that the government gave us the support and we can be able to hold a championship.
“We are putting all the necessary security measures to make sure the event is incident free including daily Covid-19 testing because we are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Amina.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe congratulated the Local Organising Committee and the Government of Kenya for delivering a championship despite the harsh times that the world is going through.
“This is the second largest athletics event in the world this year after the just concluded Olympic Games that took place in Tokyo, Japan and as a world body, we are confident more talent will be tapped during the championships. I’m looking forward to returning Kenya for other sporting events because you have shown that you can host a championship,” he added.
Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei thanked World Athletics for awarding Kenya the hosting rights.
Kenya will be represented by 46 athletes in various categories as they seek to defend the title won in the last edition in Tampere, Finland.