NAIROBI, Kenya—First lady Margaret Kenyatta Yesterday presided over a colorful opening ceremony of the 2021 World Athletics Under-20 championship at the Moi International sports center Kasarani in Nairobi.
The event kicks off properly today, with over 100 countries being featured. It will include the refugee team and neutral athletes, who will be competing under the world’s Athletics flag.
Kenya was announced as the host of the World U20 athletics championship after proving its ability to host a major athletics competition when she hosted World U18 Championship on 16 July 2017.
“16 July 2017 in Nairobi the IAAF (now World Athletics) World U18 championship came to a close in the capital of Kenya. It was clear that after hosting a successful championship, Kenya had proved its ability to host a major athletics competition,” World Athletics said.
They also said that Kenya gave a record attendance which was the highest ever recorded in the World U18 athletics championship.
“The five-day global showpiece saw a record attendance of 60,000 spectators at the championship in each of the final two days. This was the highest number of spectators ever recorded in a world U18 athletics championship.” They added
The First Lady, who is the patron for the global event, said that holding the World Under-20 event is a milestone for Africa and hopes more events will be held in Kenya.
“I want to thank the stakeholders and media. I’m impressed with the young men and women who want to improve the sport by competing in an exciting event and would like to wish them the very best in various field and track events,” she said.
Sports CS Amina Mohamed in her statement read by the Principal Secretary, Joe Okudo, said that it has been a long journey planning for the event and was happy that more than 100 countries committed to competing in the event.
“The country has supported the athletes in various events including providing training facilities despite the challenges from the pandemic where most of the sportsmen and women did not train well for a whole year. We are happy that the government gave us the support and we can be able to hold a championship.”
Kenya will be represented by 46 athletes in various categories as they seek to defend the title won in the last edition in Tampere, Finland.