The running track to be used for training by athletes during World Under-20 Athletics Championships is yet to be installed at Kenyatta University as the clock ticks towards the July 7-12 event.
Rolls of material meant to be used for the work is lying on the vast playing fields at Kenyatta University. Part of the training track has been partially tarmacked, but most of the fields still have tall grass.
Despite the delay, the government has said the training track will be ready in time for the July 7-12 championship to be held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Sports Amina Mohamed, who led other officials in an inspecting tour of the facilities at Kenyatta University, said laying of the artificial track will start soon. However, she did not mention the exact date when the work will start.
“We will be laying the artificial track in the next few weeks. I think it is doable in a short time because we are not going to carry out major works,” Amina said.
The artificial track was meant to be installed in 2017 for the World Under-18 Athletics Championships held in July the same year. The other areas inspected by the inter-ministerial team are the five hostels where athletes will stay, the anti-doping centre, psychotherapy centre and the kitchen.
Amina said only minor renovations will be done on the facilities, as they are still in good shape, having been used during the World Under-18 Athletics Championships in 2017. Renovation will be done mid-April when students have closed for holidays.
On renovation work at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, which will host the event, Amina said the work will take more time but most of it should be over by May. She said the Local Organising Committee (LOC), led by Chief Executive Officer Mike Rabar, has pointed out areas that need renovation and the were working round the clock to finish on time.
“Kasarani will take slightly longer time, but by end of May, we should see good progress,” Amina said, pointing out that the LOC will inspect the venue on Monday.
Kenya’s bid to host the 2020 World Under-20 Athletics Championship was ratified by World Athletics Council in Buenos in Aires in July 2018.
Yesterday’s inspection comes a few weeks before a team from World Athletics arrives to assess Kenya’s preparedness to host the event. Already, a team of doctors from World Athletics is in Kenya to inspect the anti-doping and medical centre at Kasarani. The doctors are also holding workshops for 17 medics who will serve during the competition.
They are also inspecting a number of hospitals to be used by dignitaries during the championship, among them Kenyatta University Hospital and Aga Khan Hospital.
Tuwei said the doctors will also fix a device at Kasarani to be used for monitoring air quality ahead of the championship.
“Before the athletes come, they (World Athletics) would like to know the amount of air and pollution in the place. With the device, they will be able to capture this while in Monaco,” said Tuwei.