In Summary
  • Kenya was awarded hosting rights in 2014.
  • Athletics Kenya conducted team selection and put Team Kenya in training camps in readiness.

On Saturday, Kenyans broke attendance record in International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) competitions when a record 50,000 spectators filled Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, prompting IAAF Chief Executive Officer Olivier Gers to tweet that it was the best ever attended championship.

Before the championship started, IAAF officials and athletes had given a thumbs up to the Athletes Village at Kenyatta University and the championship facilities at Kasarani, pointing to the great effort that went into organising the event.

No doubt, IAAF hierarchy is convinced that Kenya is more than capable of staging a bigger event, even senior World Championships in Athletics.

Perhaps UN Habitat saw into the future when it made a proposal to make Nairobi the Sports, Arts and Culture running city of the world in 2013. At the time, UN Habitat official Juma Assiago even advised Kenya to start thinking of bidding for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games because the country has the tradition, and a government willing to promote sports.

Previously, the World Junior Championship held in Kingston, Jamaica held the record for the best attended championship, with an average attendance of just over 20,000 fans.

It is easy to see why Kenya is attracting praises. Saturday’s morning session attracted 23,000 fans, and the afternoon session saw some 50,300 fans trooping to the stadium to watch the championship.

Kenya also broke records in other departments. Kenya’s hospitality for the championship was described as ‘unmatched anywhere in the world’ by IAAF Media delegate Olaf Brockman.

Kasarani Stadium was also upgraded to world-class standard and Kenya’s creativity, especially in brand positioning, saw Kenyan brands, among them the official travel and tourism guide by the Kenya Tourist Board, Magical Kenya, get exposure to global television audiences.

Successful hosting of the championship was realised through collaboration between various ministries and government departments. The championships’ CEO Mwangi Muthee, working closely with Interior Cabinet Secretary, the late Joseph Nkaissery, Sports CS Hassan Wario, Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet, gave their all to ensure the success of the championship.

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