A section of Kenyan athletics fans who thronged the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Saturday to watch the IAAF World U-18 Championships. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLOA section of Kenyan athletics fans who thronged the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Saturday to watch the IAAF World U-18 Championships. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO
By HILARY KIMUYU

Kenya has broken the record for the highest attendance at the IAAF World U18 Championships, this is according to the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The penultimate day (Saturday) of the championships saw Kenyans from all walks of life throng the 60,000-seater Kasarani Stadium to watch and cheer the athletes.

The IAAF was clearly impressed by the huge turn out after the opening day on Wednesday only attracted a handful of spectators.

Athletics fans cheer the athletes competing on the penultimate day of the IAAF World U-18 Championships Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

Athletics fans cheer the athletes competing on the penultimate day of the IAAF World U-18 Championships Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

On their official Twitter handle, IAAF congratulated Kenya for showing up to watch the event, estimating the attendance at 50,000 spectators which they termed as a “magical night in Nairobi”.

Senior Kenyan athlete, David Rudisha, who is the 800m Olympic champion, World champion and world record holder over the distance, also congratulated his compatriots for attending the event in large numbers.

Kenya's Moitalel Naadokila acknowledges cheers from the crowd after winning the silver medal in the boys' 400m hurdles final of the IAAF World U18 Championships at the Moi international Sports Center, Kasarani. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

Kenya’s Moitalel Naadokila acknowledges cheers from the crowd after winning the silver medal in the boys’ 400m hurdles final of the IAAF World U18 Championships at the Moi international Sports Center, Kasarani. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

A waiver on the entry fee by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the opening ceremony may have in a large way contributed to the much improved attendance.

In his speech, President Kenyatta had said it was an honour for the country to host the competition on its final edition.

“We are proud as a country to host the rest of the world in this prestigious competition in its final edition and the second country in Africa after Morocco in 2005,” President said.