NAIROBI (July 4) – With about a week to the IAAF World Under 18 Championships, the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, has undergone a complete transformation.
The 30-year-old sporting edifice is in sparkling shape, perhaps the most visible legacy that this global competition, to be held between July 12-16, has given Kenya. The red running track was peeled off and replaced with azure blue version that is the first of its kind in the country.
The warm-up track was nearing completion today after laying of five lanes, while the lawn in the nearby ground used for throws like javelin, hammer and shot putt has left many observers green with anticipation. The landscaping work inside and around Kasarani, including the expansive tree-clustered compound, is simply remarkable.
warm up track new surface being fixed
Workers have given the hitherto peeling walls with a fresh coat of paint, water is flowing in all taps and professionals from South Africa have adjusted lighting system to levels agreeable to global digital professionals. They have not just fixed lighting inside the stadium, but outside the stadium as well, complete with floodlights that facilitate round-the-clock work around the facility.
National Youth Service crew are clearing shrubs and grass and clearing waste in the entire complex.
Following many site visits by Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, Gen Joseph Nkaisery, and his Sports counterpart, Dr Hassan Wario, work has been done round the clock, intensified to six-hour shifts.
Anti-riot crack General Service Unit are on 24-hour detail to ensure no intruders cause any mischief.
New steel barriers have been erected to separate sections, e.g. areas used by the public and where support staff are working. The areas with the biggest transformation are media centres like Main Press Centre, Media Tribune and Mixed Zone, which have been consolidated and given a few new features. The Tribune has been given seating facilities and wired with both cabled and wireless internet. The entire Media areas have internet facilities.
Journalists covering the events going on at Kasarani are excited that the 60-seater facility will, for the first time, have permanent press facilities, thanks to the IAAF World Under-18 Championships.
Offices have been refurbished and ready for use by officials experts during the championships.
Tones of equipment have been arriving in trailers in the past week. Seiko and Delatre, who are experts in timing and related data, have bussed in their equipment and were busy setting them up in their respective areas.
The arrival of these equipment has seen a total overhaul of the stadium’s bowels, that were hitherto teaming with hundreds of rodents to sparkling stores of highly-specialised material.
Vendors of merchandise are ready to take their positions during the championships. Food vendors will provide local and international cuisine, according to officials of the Marketing Directorate.
Isaack Omulo (www.wu18nairobi2017.com)