Kenya to bid for World U-20, Diamond League meeting

Kenya will bid to host 2020 World Under-20 Championships and one leg of the IAAF Diamond League Series immediately.

World Under-18 Championships Local Organising Committee chairman, Jackson Tuwei, on Monday disclosed that his team held talks with International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe about hosting the two events, and the response from the world athletics boss was positive.

“The success of the World Under-18 Championships has given us confidence to bid for future events and Coe indicated that he will support Kenya’s initiative,” Tuwei said on Monday.

“The IAAF is seriously considering us but we shall have to work hard and plan for the events,” he added.

Tuwei said Kenya will be required to meet several conditions, among them guarantees of government funding.

Tuwei, who was accompanied by LOC Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee, was speaking in Nairobi after a media update on the World Under-18 Championships that ended on Sunday at Mo international Sports Centre, Kasarani.

“Kenyans are ambitious people. We have made big investments and we will bid not just for athletics events but also for other sports,” said Muthee. “We would like to see a rugby series, World Athletics Championships or even Olympics in Nairobi.”

Muthee said Coe had indicated to him that the country has proven capable of handling events of big magnitude, having hosted 131 countries in the five-day carnival at Kasarani.

Muthee paid tribute to the media for owning the championships, which saw them draw huge crowds to Kasarani. “The media helped us fill the stadium to record-breaking numbers,” Muthee said.

“It showed what Kenyans can achieve a lot together, achieving unity of purpose.” Muthee said that the benchmark of the championships was the athletes’ village at Kenyatta University, adding that the success of the venture was the talk of the world.

While thanking Kenyatta University’s acting Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainana for hosting athletes’ village, Muthee said that although they faced challenges, organisers achieved their goal of presenting to the world a world-class championship.

“Challenges shouldn’t pull us down but help us become better and that is what happened,” said Muthee, adding that his best moment during the event was seeing athletes from war-torn Syria and Iraq mingling with others in the send-off party at athletes’ village.


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