Kenyans Break Record on Final Day of World U18 Athletics Champs
Kenya has broken the record for the highest attendance at the IAAF World U18 Championships, according to IAAF. As if that wasn't enough to cheer about, the East African nation bagged a total of 15 medals including the fastest girls' 100m hurdles race ever.
By Ayumba Ayodi
World Under-18 Championships Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Muthee declared the championships a great success and hailed Kenyans for gracing the event in numbers at Kasarani.
Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia said that Kenya has proved to the world that it can host a successful championships besides producing quality athletes.
A turnout of up to 37,000 was witnessed on Friday followed by a U-18 Championship record of 50,300 people on Saturday with the morning session registering 37,500 in attendance.
Sunday saw the attendance record increase to 55,000 people. Among those on the stands were First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who is the championships patron.
"It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see Kenyans satisfied and having a smile on their faces," said an emotional Muthee.
"This is quite personal for me after beating all the challenges to present a world class event." Muthee said it was payback time for Kenya to the world since the country's athletes started taking part in athletics events in 1954.
"Almost all these memorable performances were made outside our country where we were and are still received with open arms and made to feel welcome even though we have often vanquished our opponents in the field of play," said Muthee, who thanked the IAAF for giving Kenya the opportunity to host the world youth event.
Muthee paid tribute to the late Internal Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Nkaissery who passed away last weekend for the role he played to have the event succeed.
Kaberia paid tribute to the youth for showing that they too play a part in the country's economy.
"That is why the government is committed to developing facilities at the grassroot," Kaberia said.