The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has advised Kenya to focus on delivering a world class event rather than have sleepless nights over countries that will not send athletes to July’s World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.
Even though it was regrettable that United States of America and Great Britain will not send teams to the July 12 to 16 championships, IAAF deputy director of communications Anna Legnani on Wednesday said other countries too have quality athletes who will make the youth championships stand out.
USA said they were not entering a team at the championships citing security concerns while countries like New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Switzerland opted to instead focus on other regions events, including the Commonwealth Youth Games from July 19 to 23 in Bahamas.
Legnani pointed out that the USA did not also field a team at the 2000 World Under-20 Championships in Chile since most of their athletes were in school, but Chile still hosted a fantastic championship where Kenya ended up winning the overall title.
Legnani, who was accompanied by the IAAF press delegate for the Nairobi championships, Olaf Brockmann, was speaking after inspecting the media facilities at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, the venue of the track and field action.
“During the previous World Under-18 Championships in Cali, Colombia, also, the USA did have any athletes in men’s 100 metres final and this shows the quality of competition other countries can provide,” said Legnani noting that just like the USA and Great Britain other countries too have quality athletes.
“It’s sad for them that they are not coming to Nairobi but it’s them who will lose out, this being the last of the youth event,” said Legnani.
“What Kenya should do is put in place all the required machinery to ensure a world class event that will put their critics to rest.”
Legnani noted that they were happy about the report that was filed by Brockmann and Media Operations manager Lavinia Maffia following the IAAF media delegates visit last month.
“We are back again to show our support to Kenya urge them to enhance their preparations,” said Legnani, who was also impressed by the media set-up at the competition venue.
“Having the press centre, media tribune and mixed zone almost within the same radius is an incredible setup and quite convenient for the media,” said Legnani adding that IAAF will conduct a workshop for journalists before the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi.