After the huge success of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya will now push to host more major international competitions, Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario said on Tuesday.
Wario said the success of the final edition of this under-18 showed Kenya’s ability to host big competitions and also “silenced the naysayers who thought Kenya would not pull it off.”
“We had the greatest sporting event ever in this country and I wish to thank everyone who was involved in the organization, especially the inter-ministerial team appointed by the President that was extremely important in mobilizing preparations in infrastructure, roads, energy and other sectors,” the minister said.
“I also thank the President for giving the money for the project and leading from the front. I thank the government, Local Organising Committee, volunteers and everyone else involved because it showed what we do and also that we can bid for bigger events like the World Championships and the Diamond League,” he added.
The minister said the expertise and experience gathered from hosting the under-18 championships should be transferred to the hosting of the Africa Nations Championships (CHAN).
“It was a good interplay between tourism and sports because with 160 nations watching the action live from Nairobi, it was a great platform to showcase Kenya and also silenced the naysayers who though we could not manage to organize such a championship.
“They had said we won’t be ready for the championships, and that there were security issues because of the General Election but in the end we have shown that Kenya is a mature country that can hold elections while at the same time organizing a major sporting competition,” Wario said.
Great Britain, Japan, USA, Italy, Canada and New Zealand were among the countries that snubbed the championships, largely claiming security fears around the General Election.
The CS also paid tribute to the late Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat for pushing Kenya’s bid to host these championships.
“He was instrumental in pushing our bid in Monaco in 2014 and wherever he is now, he must be very proud of Kenya,” he said.