NAIROBI (July 4) – Poland, multiple hosts of global athletics championships, were the first to jet in Nairobi for the 10th and final IAAF World Athletics Under-18 Championships to be held between July 12-16.
Poland arrived on Tuesday evening with a squad of 31 athletes and officials, among them current European junior race walk champion, Tukasz Niedzialek.
European junior race walk champion, Tukasz Niedzialek
oland hosted the first IAAF World Youth Championships, the precursor of the IAAF World Under 18 Championships, in 1999 where Kenya emerged as overall champions.
Beaming with confidence that bordered on bravado, the Polish team leader and head coach, Marcin Gora said they are starting the championships with one gold in the bag – that of Niedzialek.
Polish team leader and head coach, Marcin Gora
The youngster won the gold medal at the European Junior Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia, last year.
“Kenyans are only good in endurance, but this one? No no, you can’t win. This is ours,” he told journalists at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The team were whisked to Kenyatta University where they will be staying until the official period when they are supposed to join camp.
“We have a young team who are coming here to compete internationally for the first time, so we cannot make any predictions,” said Gora.
Argentina are expected to arrive on Wednesday at 8.20pm, same time that the Polish team’s Lufthansa plane touched down in the Kenyan capital.
Isaack Omulo (www.wu18nairobi2017.com)