Under 18 event a success, says First Lady Margaret Kenyatta

Sunday July 16 2017

Team Kenya salutes fans during the closing ceremony of the IAAF World Under 18 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani July 16, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Team Kenya salutes fans during the closing ceremony of the IAAF World Under 18 Championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani July 16, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN YONGA
More by this Author

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Sunday presided over a colourful closing ceremony of the IAAF World Under 18 Athletics Championship at the Moi International Sports Centre Stadium, Kasarani.

Mrs Kenyatta, who was the Championships patron, handed medals to the 4x400 mixed relays teams, which was the last event of the competition. Brazil won gold ahead of Jamaica and South Africa with Kenya finishing fourth.

Over 50 veteran Kenyan athletes were introduced to the crowd – estimated to be over 55,000 - and they mingled freely with the more than 801 athletes from 103 countries that took part in the 10th and final edition of the youth event.

Sarakasi dancers and acrobats entertained the crowd as athletes reflected on the events of the past five days. All teams marched past across the stadium and danced to the various music on show.

While Saturday witnessed 50,000 people attending the competition, the 60,000 seater was almost full to capacity as early as 2pm on Sunday, an hour before the programme began.

A view of the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Day 5 of the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A view of the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Day 5 of the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fans wave flags during Day 5 of the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fans wave flags during Day 5 of the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fans cheer on their favourite athletes on Day 5 of the the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fans cheer on their favourite athletes on Day 5 of the the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Police were forced to turn back thousands, who had still not accessed the venue, after it became clear that there was no more space inside.

Outside, Kenyans almost broke gates to access the venue but were thwarted by the large numbers of law enforcers assisted by the National Youth Service.

There was traffic a snarl up along Thika Road from 1pm as Kenyans made their way to the stadium.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had on Wednesday directed that fans be allowed to access the venue for free, when he officially opened the competition.

The First Lady was accompanied by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario as well as his Foreign Affairs counterpart Amb Amina Mohammed and other dignitaries.
The LOC chief executive officer Mwangi Muthee declared the Championships a success.

"It has been a wonderful five days and the crowd yesterday just showed how much Kenyans received the competition and we take pride in a job well done," Muthee told Nation Sport.

"We have shown the world that we are more than capable of hosting an international competition," he added.

Over 80 journalists both from within and outside the country covered the event which was in its final edition.