Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is in town.
What was intended to be a private visit by the 23-year-old Jamaican multiple world sprints record holder will graduate to a celebrity tour when he meets with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nairobi on Monday as part of a busy four-day schedule.
On his first ever visit to Africa, Bolt, the world and Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion, is accompanied by his main sponsor, German billionnaire Jochen Zeitz, and former world hurdles record holder, Briton Colin Jackson.
The trio are on a mission to launch the Zeitz Foundation’s Kenya office and unveil the construction of a luxury Global Ecosphere Retreat at Segera, Laikipia, that seeks to develop a world class eco-tourism destination.
The Zeitz Foundation is a German non-governmental organisation seeking to conserve nature.
Details of Bolt’s visit have been kept entirely under wraps with his hosts wary of the attention the superstar draws wherever he goes.
In addition, a huge security blanket has been thrown over the visit by the most sought-after sportsman in the world today with no public autograph-signing appearances scheduled.
Foreign Affairs minister, Moses Wetangula, will host the Bolt party in Nairobi of behalf of the Government.
After attending an exclusive, formal reception sponsored by the Nation Media Group tonight, Bolt, Zeitz and Jackson will travel to the 50-acre Segera ranch, which Zeitz, who is also the chairman and chief executive officer of sportwear firm, Puma, purchased last year as the base of Zeitz Foundation’s operations in Kenya and Africa.
On Monday, Bolt will meet with President Kibaki in Nairobi before appropriately adopting the fastest animal on land, a young cheetah, at the Nairobi National Park in the company of Prime Minister Odinga at a ceremony organised by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Bolt created a sensation at last year’s Beijing Olympics when he became the first man to win gold medals at three sprinting events, all in world record times, when he triumphed in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay competitions.
And last August, the young Jamaican blew the world’s mind by breaking the 100m and 200m world records again, setting new times of 9.58 and 19.19 seconds respectively.
Also travelling with Bolt is his manager, Ricky Simms, of Pace Management, who also handles a number of Kenya’s leading athletes including the world 10,000 metres champion Linet Masai.