When Kenya was granted the opportunity to host the 2020 IAAF World Under 20 Championship, there was a lot of celebration across the country amid promises of delivering a world class event.
The Sports Cabinet Secretary, Rashid Echesa, in a press briefing in July immediately announced that Sh1.5 billion had been set aside towards the event.
The Organising Committee was subsequently to be set up last August to oversee the preparations of the event, But Unfortunately, up to now Sports Ministry is yet to appoint the Organising Committee and I do not think it can be done this year.
As they say, we can not always do things the same way and expect different results. We are aware the 2017 World Under 18 Championships here in Nairobi was a last minute thing and we really don’t want to take same route again for the 2020 event.
The world athletics body, IAAF are very particular about the deadlines and as a stakeholder, I am not happy with the current pace. Being a former athlete, I like doing things according to schedule because it is the only way one can succeed.
I am aware some of the facilities we used in 2017 are still intact but we can not be sure of that unless we put a team in place to monitor and improve some of them.
The IAAF team was here recently and talked at length about the importance of sticking to deadlines. We all know we were not perfect in the last event and even struggled to pull it off.
However, this shouldn’t be the case right now and we have the opportunity to make the event better if not world class.
With the experience we have from 2017, we can’t promise the public a world class event if we cannot start on time. We need to go back to the bid presented in Buenos Aires, Argentina just to confirm if we have lived up to expectations so far.
It is one thing to get an event and it is totally another to host according to the expectations of the consumers. This situation, I am sure is putting Athletics Kenya in a very precarious state considering they have to deal with IAAF every day.
The irony is that IAAF can only call AK if they want to know the progress yet the Sports Ministry are the ones calling the shots.
We need to learn from our past mistakes and right our wrongs.