Hats off to record crowd at Kasarani for athletics event

I was impressed by the record 50,000 spectators who witnessed the IAAF World Under-18 Championships at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

The organisers have confirmed that the sea of humanity was unprecedented and that this was the best edition of the championships so far in terms of coordination.

As I sat in the stadium, I could not resist the temptation to pat myself on the back for coming out in solidarity with the country’s great athletes who have flown our national flag in the world sports arenas.

As I followed the events, it did not matter to me if Kenyan athletes were winning or not.

WON GOLD

I did not care who won gold, silver or bronze medals. All I cared for was the magnanimous crowd that set a world record.

The mere fact that the stadium was full to the brim was satisfying enough.

The Kenyan athletes felt as if the whole country was at Kasarani to cheer them. And we were!

Kenyans from all walks of life came out in their numbers to cheer their homegrown world beaters.

TELEVISION

For years, we followed such events on television but this time the world had come to Kenya and I had to stand up to be counted.

We demonstrated to the world that Kenya is, indeed, the home of athletics.

That Kenya can host an event of this magnitude is testimony that we are truly a sporting giant.

The magnificent organisational skills witnessed at the venue were unmatched.

MARKETING

Hosting the athletics event  in Nairobi has given Kenya free international marketing.

It has come at a good time, when the country is headed for elections.

The international media will confirm to the world that our country is largely peaceful despite the election fever.

Now that the championships are over, international journalists can walk around and capture our rich cultural heritage as they visit the Nairobi National Park, which is within the precincts of the capital city, among other places.

TEMPTATION

Of course they will not resist the temptation of visiting the renowned Maasai Mara National Park.

Before departure, they can take a breathtaking train ride to our scenic coastal beaches via the Tsavo National Park, home to thousands of African elephants.

With that, they can go back home with great things to report on, devoid of the perennial lies that dominate international headlines about our great country.

They must change the negative narrative perpetuated by our enemies.

Kenya is a great country whose people are united in making it greater everyday.

I am proud to be a Kenyan.

ASHFORD GIKUNDA,Kiambu.

 * * *

The athletics championships, which saw the hosts Kenya bagging medals on the first day, demonstrated that we have a lot of young talent that ends up going to waste if not well exploited.

Many talented youngsters are either forced to stick to education or have no one to mentor them in activities that they are good at.

Their talent thus goes to waste. It is time parents, teachers and the government ensured the talent in our youngsters is exploited.

It can become a source of livelihood for these young people.

BILLY MUKOLI NJITE, Uasin Gishu.

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