The cost of hosting next year’s World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi could go up by 20 percent, local organisers have said.
This after World Athletics set the new dates for the global meet as August 17 to 22, 2021. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe Thursday announced that the championships will now be staged just a week after the completion of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The championships were due to take place from July 7 to 12 this year but were postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The championships’ chief executive officer Mike Rabar said their budget is likely to go up by Sh250 million owing to the new guidelines released by World Athletics based on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rabar, Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo and the championships’ Local Organising Committee chairman Jack Tuwei welcomed the gesture by World Athletics to have the meet in Nairobi as per their promise to deliver another world class event to Kenya.
“We have a whole book of World Athletics protocols explaining how the event will be conducted especially in post Covid-19,” explained Rabar, adding that they will be required to sanitise all the equipment besides improving on changing rooms to adhere to Covid-19 protocols. “We shall require to bring in more equipment to avoid sharing and places like the media tribune will be expanded to create more room for journalists and all these for sure will have budgetary implications,” said Rabar.
The government had set aside Sh1.3 billion for the World Under-20 Championships that will take place at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Rabar noted that before the postponement of the event in March this year, they had achieved a major milestone hence would have been ready if the event was to run in July.
“All the procurement process was in place and the government had already released funds,” said Rabar adding that Kenya is lucky that World Athletics had not cancelled the event. Rabar said they are looking forward to conducting two dry run events in February and June next year ahead of the world junior event.
Okudo welcomed the news saying Kenya will at least have some international sporting competition post Covid-19 next year.
“We will continue to prepare to ensure that we exceed the expectations of all,” said Okudo. Even coming just after the Olympics, Tuwei said the event won’t be affected adding that World Athletics had considered shifting the event to 2022 but appealed for consideration.
“We are excited and happy that World Athletics considered our request. The period allocated is fine considering that 2021 will be congested with activities,” said Tuwei, adding that they will heighten the preparations to ensure that they deliver a successful event.
Under the competition’s rules, athletes aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on December 31, 2021 will be eligible to compete.