Kenya expects top teams for World Youth athletics
Nairobi, Dec 20 (IANS) Organisers of the 2017 World Youth Athletics Championships here expect a strong representation from China, the US and Germany in the event that will attract over 1,000 athletes from 155 countries and regions.
"We are negotiating with top teams who are keen to send their athletes to train in our country to acclimatize and improve their fitness ahead of the championships. It will be a big event and we are doing everything to prepare for it," Mwangi Muthee, the head of the Local Organising Committee, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
The US, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey, Botswana and Uganda are some of the countries that have their athletes training in Eldoret and Iten.
The championships are scheduled to be held here from July 12 to 16.
Britain has announced that it will send a team to the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas, and will therefore give the World Youth Championships a miss.
A German delegation led by the country's national youth coach Jorg Peter said they are satisfied with the Nairobi's progress ahead of the athletics championships next year.
"One does not travel every day to Africa, so a good preparation of the German team's stay is required. The local organising committee is looking forward to the event and are very pleased that we were there already and we were looking at the competition venues," Peter said.
However, Local Organising Committee CEO Mwangi Muthee said security and accommodation of the athletes will be given high priority.
"We want as many as possible to come, even set a record; and as Kenyans we should extend enthusiastic welcome. This is a very important event for the youth. The opportunity to travel, see new places, make new friends and enjoy the camaraderie is something one should not deny them," Muthee said.
The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) has put in a lot of efforts in sending technical delegations to the city to advise on the planning and preparation of the event.
"We are through with planning and are now on implementation of all that is required for a great event. We have full support of the event owners, that is IAAF and the Kenya government who backed this championships right from the onset when Nairobi bid as the host city," Muthee said.