Kenya has another opportunity to pull off a world-class event after the successful 2017 World under-18 Athletics Championships here in Nairobi.
The country, and particularly host city Nairobi have been granted the opportunity to host the World Under-20 Championships — coming after the last edition last July in Tempere, Finland.
While Nairobi 2017 was a huge success, there were a few grey areas, which we will need to improve on to make the 2020 event even better.
The beauty is that we have started early and I hope we will maintain the tempo.
As I speak, the IAAF delegates, led by events guru Paul Hardy, are in the country to ensure the process is kick started.
However, I believe it’s only the Kenyans’ contribution that can steer the event the right way. It’s no secret that we started the 2017 process too late, prompting a mad rush at the tail end hence some inefficiencies here and there.
However, I must say everything on the field of play went as per the plan, attracting a full house at the 60,000-seater stadium at Moi International Sports Centre, perhaps the first time in the history of the event which has since been wound up.
This time round, the good thing is that most of the facilities used in 2017 are still in place and all we need is to maintain them at a very minimal cost.
However, there are things that were supposed to be rolled out in the 2017 plan that are yet to get underway. This includes a tartan track at the Kenya University athletics village.
We have two years to do this and we need to start this like yesterday. I am happy some facilities at Kasarani are under renovation including the restaurant courtesy of Sports Kenya and this will go a long way in ensuring that the 2020 event is a success.
We also need to start training the manpower early to avoid ending up with people who do not understand what athletics is all about.
The leadership, especially, should be athletics savvy in order to drive things the right way. We must enlist athletics enthusiasts to push the agenda of the 2020 IAAF World Under-20 Championships.
From our experience in 2017, we cannot afford to have financially driven officials run the championship.
Security was also a bit of an issue and so was transport. We must right all the wrongs to convince the world that we are ripe to host the senior global championships, whose next edition in 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
I will not though dwell on the negatives because we also had a number of positives in 2017 plus it was a learning curve for many.
As our friends from the IAAF had put it we must adhere to a “3D approach”, which is dedication, dialogue and decisions. Yes, we must be dedicated, dialogue and make the right decisions as a team.
Finally, I want to thank the ministry of sports, which has been very supportive. I must say the ministry has been in the forefront in driving the bid agenda for the 2020 event and I hope they will ensure we adhere to the deadlines this time round.