In further recognition for Kenya's standing in the athletics world, the nation's capital has been selected as host city of the 2020 IAAF World U20 Championships.
Nairobi's candidacy was formally endorsed by the IAAF Council in Buenos Aires on Thursday, prompting excited reactions from the country's president Uhuru Kenyatta down to the athletes which have made the nation an athletics powerhouse.
Kenya is the home of Athletics. We appreciate the decision by @iaaforg— President of Kenya (@PresidentKE) July 27, 2018
to select Nairobi as the host city of the World U20 championships to be held on July 7 -12, 2020. Athletics is our way of life. #MagicalKenya is ready to charm the world. @IAAFWorldChamps @sebcoe
From an organisational point of view, the east African country's claims were enhanced after hosting the final edition of the IAAF World U18 Championships last year, which the IAAF commended.
In a statement congratulating Nairobi, IAAF president Seb Coe made further note of why Kenya's bid won out.
"With 42% of Kenya's population under 15 years of age and the 60 000 crowds that attended last year's U18 WCH in Nairobi it should be a great event," Coe wrote in a tweet. "The U20 Championships showcases the future of our sport so Kenya, with a young and enthusiastic population and such a rich history in athletics, is a perfect fit for us," he concluded.
The depth of Kenya's athletics talent was reiterated at this year's youth championships which took place in Tampere, Finland in July. The nation's top Under-20 athletes -- some of which are already winning races on the IAAF Diamond League circuit -- emerged atop the standings at the six-day long event.
Kenya won six gold medals out of their 11 overall to edge Jamaica and the USA. Their ability to rise to the occasion was highlighted by Celliphine Chespol and Rhonex Kipruto setting championships records in the 3000m steeplechase and 10 000m respectively, while Beatrice Chebet achieved a personal best while winning the 5000m. Solomon Lekuta (800m), George Manangoi (1500m) and Edward Zakayo (5000m) claimed the other gold medals which confirmed Kenya's place atop world youth athletics.
As can be expected, the president of Athletics Kenya Jackson Tuwei is looking forward to what his nation's athletes can achieve in two years' time on home soil.
"The Executive Committee of AK, athletes and entire athletics fraternity are very excited to receive the good news from the IAAF that Kenya has been selected to host the WU20 in 2020. It is indeed a great honour to us all, particularly the great athletes who have significantly contributed to the development of world athletics over the years. All are welcomed back to Kenya, the home of heroes."
The IAAF World U20 Championships Nairobi 2020 have been scheduled for July 7-12, 2020.