Time is ripe for Africa to host the Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said in Eldoret on Sunday.
The IOC president paid tribute to the continent for its prowess in athletics and for the successful hosting of the just-concluded Youth Games in Botswana. Bach noted that the only challenge for Africa was to upgrade its facilities. “Africa is home to most of the world athletics beaters, the reason it was allowed to host an event that brought the whole of Africa for the Gaborone games,” said Bach.
“And Africa is not stopping just yet. Seeing South Sudan present its athletes in Gaborone was simply encouraging,” Bach added while commissioning a dining hall at Kipkeino High School in Uasin Gishu.
Bach who was voted head the Olympics body in September, said Africa has potential to host bigger events in the coming years. “Africa did good job for holding the youth games, we hope to soon start visible bidding for Africa to host the Olympics,” he said. “Laying down structures for the 2020 Olympic would kick off soon and Africa will have the chance to bid itself.”
Bach, who was making his second visit to the school after opening a study room in 2010, stressed that Africa has never hosted the competition and that would be an advantage into being considered.
Bach who was flanked by Olympic Committee of Kenya boss Kipchoge Keino landed at the Eldoret International Airport from Botswana on his private jet and visited the Kipchoge Stadium, the school and then left for Addis Ababa.
At the stadium, Dr Bach said Kenya will be advantaged in its bids to host the Olympic event once the stadium is completed, an idea welcomed by Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat and Kenya’s pioneer track star Kipchoge Keino, who is also the National Olympic Committee of Kenya chairman.
Bach said the Olympic committee would help Kenya and other countries fight cases of performance inhibitors an doping currently a menace in global sports Two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, former world marathon record holders Paul Tergat and Tegla Loroupe and former world 5,000m champion Benjamin Limo were among a host of world beating athletes present at the ceremony.
While commissioning the school in 2010, former IOC President Jacques Roge said Kipchoge was a lover of athletics and his selfless heart for the sports should be imitated.