NAIROBI (July 11) – International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President, Lord Sebastian Coe, on Tuesday paid glowing tribute to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the former Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, the late Joseph Nkaissery, who died suddenly last Saturday.
Addressing the official Press Conference of the IAAF/LOC on the eve of the 10th IAAF World Under 18 Championships at the VIP Lounge of Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Lord Coe paid tribute to Kenya for its enormous contribution to the development of athletics.
Accompanied by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr Hassan Wario, Chairman of the LOC, Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, Chief Executive Officer of the LOC, Mwangi Muthee and Principal Secretary State Department for Sports, Amb Kirimi Kaberia, Lord Coe also sent sympathies to the family and friends of the late Nkaissery who was leading an inter-ministerial committee for the organisation of these championships.
“It is a historic occasion for Kenya; and my visit here is also a personal one because my career was defined by great athletics competition by Kenya athletes. Kenyan athletes made a huge impact on global athletics from 1960s with Amos Biwott, Kip Keino, and list continues to my generation. My history is your history, your history is my history.
We are delighted to be here to witness the largest track and field competition on the continent,” said Lord Coe.
“We have had two editions of World Cross Country Championships, World Cup and Continental Cup.
“Holding World Championships here signifies continued commitment Kenya has for global athletics. I paid visit to Kenyan President (Kenyatta) and he committed to the development of sports, and we agreed to look at sports more broadly than elite division only.
“We want to involve our sport in matters of health, cohesion, community building, which track and field does better than other sports,” said Lord Coe.
About 130 countries are in Nairobi for the Championships, which start on Wednesday through to Sunday.
Lord Coe predicted formidable competition, which will be streamed to 160 countries via youtube and face book channels
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to watch talent of the future, where the likes of Usain Bolt, Alison Felix and others all started. We should be uncovering some of those future stars here,” concluded the President.
Dr Wario thanked Lord Seb Coe and the IAAF for showing confidence in Kenya by giving the nation the chance to host the global competition.
“Thank you for showing confidence in Kenya and for giving us the chance to host these great games. It is a huge learning curve and we are ready for bigger things. With this kind of facility, we are looking to the future which is vying for World Championships and other major games,” said Dr Wario.
“We have invited all heroes and heroines of the past so that the young can emulate them and have a good time after this,” said Dr wario.
Lt Gen Tuwei introduced legends Nyantika Maiyoro, Billy Konchellah, Julius Kariuki, Barnaba Korir and Rose Tata Muya to the crowd.
During the question and answer, Lord Coe expressed disappointment by the leakage of personal medical information of athletes by hackers.
He said they will remain vigilant and ensure athletes personal information is not leaked to the public domain. He also said athletics will continue leading in setting up ways of promoting anti-doping activities.
He urged athletics federations to educate young athletes on anti-doping matters for the good of the sport.