The government has set aside Sh800 million in preparations for the 2017 World Youth Championships in Athletics, Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch told Daily Nation Sport Wednesday.
After winning the bid to host the global event, the hard work now begins as athletics returns home after a decade.
The last time a major tournament was hosted in Kenya was the 2007 World Cross Country Championships. “We will be required to train technical officials, recruit volunteers as well as make necessary security arrangements and look for sponsors to supplement the government’s efforts,” Oluoch said.
Cabinet secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, Hassan Wario, led Kenya’s successful bid presentation on Tuesday night in Monaco that also had the 2014 Diamond League winners Mercy Cherono and Jairus Birech and Athletics Kenya chief executive officer Isaac Mwangi.
“We are ready to host 1,400 athletes and 600 team officials from 170 countries in Nairobi,” said Wario, who promised a big and better event that the 2007 World Cross.
The Nyayo National Stadium, which hosted the 2010 Africa Championships, will be the main venue with the Ministry of Transport (Industrial Area) and Kenya Prisons grounds (Lang’ata) being considered for training.
“Some people wanted it to happen, some wished it would happen, others who succeeded made it happen. We have it!” said Cherono after the victory.
“The success of the event should set the stage for Kenya to host the major world championships but we need to do more to achieve that,” said Cherono, the 2010 World Cross Country junior champion as well as the 2008 and 2010 World Junior 3,000m champion.
“It was nice to represent my country as a youth ambassador and I hope this event leads to wider acceptance of the sport that has brought us so much across the nation,” the 21 year-old Birech, who added Continental Cup and Diamond League crowns in a stellar 2014, said from Monaco.
The spokesman of 14 AK regions that are demanding reforms at the headquarters, Paul Mutwii, congratulated Wario and the government for their effort in making the bid through since the bid would have flopped without their engagement.