Uhuru: State will support bids for championships

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the government will support Kenya’s bids to host major athletics events, including the World Championships.

President Kenyatta said he will back Athletics Kenya’s bid to host any championships, saying the huge success seen at the just-concluded World Under-18 Championships at Kasarani Stadium last week was a testament to Kenya’s ability to host major events.

“After hosting the world youth event, we now must target other major athletics events. I’m ready to support any bids that will be put through,” President Kenyatta said on Friday when he hosted Team Kenya that took part in World Under-18 Championships in Athletics for breakfast at State House, Nairobi.

Already, Kenya has expressed interest in hosting 2020 World Under-20 Championships and 2023 World Championships.

The President rewarded Team Kenya athletes with a total of Sh7.6 million. The 42 athletes and 32 officials in the team will each get Sh100,000. The President also pledged to pay school fee and to issue scholarships to members of the team, all of whom are students.

President Kenyatta also offered the team a paid-up four-day holiday treat at Mombasa Beach Hotel starting Saturday. The President requested all the athletes to personally write down their experiences right from the championships, to the Mombasa trip. The team will travel by train to Mombasa.

During the ceremony, World Under-18 800m gold medallist, Jackline Wambui sought the President’s help with her school fee, and the 17-year-old Form Four student at Riruta Central Secondary School, Nairobi, got her wish as President Kenyatta promised to meet the cost of her education.

It was moment of joy for the President who received Kenya’s flag from team captain David Saruni. The team then decorated the President with their medals they won in the five-day youth competition that ended on Sunday at Kasarani.

Team Kenya finished fourth overall in the championship with 15 medals (four gold, seven silver and four bronze medals).

“We are proud of you regardless of the position you finished in since you put Kenya on the world map for a whole week,” the President said. “You brought together the whole world and thousands of Kenyans to celebrate the biggest athletics track and field championships in the region.”

President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and  Chief of Staff and Head of Civil Service, Joseph Kinyua, said he was overwhelmed by the congratulatory messages he received from across the world after the success of the championship.

Also present were the World Under-18 Local Organising Committee chairman Jackson Tuwei and CEO Mwangi Muthee.

Uhuru rewards team with Sh 7.6million.


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