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How Uhuru ‘unknowingly’ fulfilled sports pledge

Perhaps unknowingly, the Jubilee administration on Wednesday fulfilled one key pledge it made to Kenyans back in 2013.

This happened as President Uhuru Kenyatta, accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, officially opened the tenth edition of the IAAF World Under-18 Championship at the refurbished 60,000-seater Kasarani Stadium, in Nairobi. The government has pumped Sh2.5 billion into this event.

With that, President Kenyatta had fulfilled his promise to ensure Kenya stages international sporting events during the first term of his five year tenure, even though he didn’t mention it.

SPORTS EVENTS

This pledge was enshrined in the initial Jubilee manifesto and reads in part:

“The ambition of the (Jubilee) Coalition is for Kenya to host major sporting events such as the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, and the 2019 Africa Athletics Championship. To that end, the Coalition will continue supporting our emerging athletes in the areas where Kenya has traditionally been strong, as well as encouraging our young people to explore their sporting potential in other areas such as rugby, cricket, basketball, swimming and football.”

OPENING CEREMONY

The opening ceremony was also graced by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, who contributed significantly towards Kenya winning the bid to host this Championship, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, the competition’s Local Organizing Committee CEO Mwangi Muthee and IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe.

At the event, the President directed a waiver to all gate charges for interested spectators, thus increasing the possibility of increased attendances during this five-day event, that has attracted 2,000 athletes and officials from all over the world.

Other than the ongoing athletics championships, Kenya is also on course to host the 2018 Africa Nations Championship football tournament in January 2018, even though preparations for the event have been dogged by lack of funds and delayed preparedness.