KENYA’S First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Tuesday made an extensive inspection of sporting and accommodation facilities at the Athletes Village, Kenyatta University and competition venue for the IAAF World U18 championships which will take place from July 12 to 16 in Nairobi.
The First Lady is the Patron of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the event. At Kenyatta University, she was accompanying the acting vice-chancellor Paul Wainaina to open an International Conference on Reproductive Health. She said women suffering from fistula should be assisted in seeking medical help so that they can continue with their normal lives.
She said it was sad when mothers suffering from Obstetric Fistula were usually hidden away to suffer negative emotional and psychological effects due to humiliation from their smell and inability to perform their family roles.
After the conference, the First Lady visited facilities at the World U18 Championships’ Athletes Village where she said there was impressive refurbishment of kitchens and dining area and six hostel blocks to accommodate 2,000 athletes and officials from about 141 confirmed countries.
At the training fields, she expressed concern at the current status of construction especially the laying down of a synthetic running track. Project managers said recent heavy rains had slowed the working pace but after the brief respite in the last few days, speed will be stepped up and work shifts to be on both day and night.
Then the First Lady made an impromptu inspection of the competition venue at Kasarani. She specifically enquired about the exact time that IAAF partners, Mondo, would start laying of the tartan tracks inside the stadium and at the warm-up area. She was informed that Mondo experts were already working on the base of the tracks, that the track material had arrived in Mombasa and laying would start next Monday.
She was accompanied by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee. The First Lady said she would be back for another inspection very soon.
Besides the sporting fraternity drawn globally, thousands of other visitors are also expected in the country to have a first-hand experience of Kenya, a country recognized internationally as a powerhouse of long distance runners.
During the previous nine editions of the biannual Youth Championships held in Poland, Germany, Canada, Morocco, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Ukraine and Colombia, Kenya emerged between positions 1 and 3 beating many world sporting giants.
At the inaugural 1999 championships in Poland, Kenya emerged overall winners after beating 150 other countries, a feat Kenyan athletes repeated in 2009 when they reclaimed the title in Italy.
During the launch of the LOC’s official IAAF World U18 Championships website on February 28, the First Lady said the championships will provide a great opportunity to recognize and appreciate the diverse sporting abilities of youth from across the world, Kenya included.
Local Organising Committee
IAAF World U18 Championships, Nairobi 2017