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Nairobi leads race to host World Championships

Global athletics focus this week shifts to the Principality of Monaco where Nairobi is on the verge of being named hosts of the 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships with the decision being made on Tuesday.

The week-long activities of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will also see the 2014 World Athlete of the Year named with Kenya’s world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto up against Qatar’s high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim and French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie.

The women’s finalists are Valerie Adams (New Zealand, shot putt), Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia, middle distance) and Dafne Schippers (Netherlands, sprints).

Friday’s Gala will be hosted by the International Athletics Foundation (IAF), under the patronage of Prince Albert of Monaco, at the Chapiteau de Fontvieille in Monte Carlo.

NAIROBI FAVOURITE

Insider information on Monday tipped Nairobi to win the hosting rights for the 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships which will be the biggest sporting event the country will ever have hosted, even surpassing the 1987 Fourth All Africa Games.

The announcement of the winning bid is expected to be made on Tuesday, on the opening day of the three-day IAAF Council meeting that will also name the hosts for the 2019 IAAF World Championships and other global competitions.

Besides Nairobi, Greensboro (USA) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) had expressed interest in the championship but are said to have put in a half-hearted attempt in their bids, leaving Nairobi with a huge chance of getting the hosing rights.

However, an IAAF insider expressed concern at the current wrangling in Athletics Kenya as being the only chink in Kenya’s otherwise solid armour.

Kampala is fighting with Manama (Bahrain) for the rights to host the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, a competition which Mombasa hosted in 2007.

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

Meanwhile, veteran French journalist March Ventouillac, 54, of France’s l’Equipe sports newspaper has been named the 2014 IAAF World Journalist of the Year, taking over from Italian La Gazetta dello Sport veteran Gianni Merlo who won the award last year.

German sprinter Guido Muller, 64, and Lavina Petrie, 70, of Australia were declared the 2014 IAAF Masters Athletes of the Year.

“Born in 1960 in Courbevoie, Marc Ventouillac discovered athletics while watching the 1972 Olympic Games. That year, he joined a local club, the SO Revel athletics club. In 1978, he became treasurer of the club and obtained the first level of coaching,” IAAF’s citation of Ventouillac.