On Thursday, a delegation from World Athletics headquarters in Monaco was in Kenya to assess the country’s preparedness to host the 2020 World Under-20 Athletics Championships. With just five months to go, renovation work at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, is incomplete.
Work at both Kasarani Stadium and Kenyatta University, where the Athletes Village will be based, has been painstakingly slow. There are fears that Kenya might fail to meet the World Athletics deadline, and this could spell doom for the country’s future bids.
After the World Athletics delegation concluded its tour of Kasarani Stadium and facilities at Kenyatta University, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary Joe Okudo assured the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the delegation that all pending work will be completed on time.
But this is worrying because nothing much has been happening on the ground. Laying of an artificial running track at Kenyatta University has dragged for about three years since Kenya hosted the 2017 World Under-18 Athletics Championship.
Judging from the delays, ministry officials seem to have learnt very little from hosting the 2017 World Under-18 Athletics Championships.
Kasarani Stadium is in a deplorable state since the seats, toilets and water taps were vandalised just after the 2017 World Under-18 Championships.
At the moment, officials should be conducting dry runs in the arena, which will also host the World Athletics Continental Tour on May 2.
The Sports ministry and the LOC must move with speed to put things in order. Empty talk could cost Kenya hosting rights for these global championships.