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Kenya given clean bill of health for continental championships

WEIRD NEWS
By | January 28th 2010

By Mutwiri Mutuota

Preparations for Nairobi 2010 continental championships received a ringing endorsement from an inspection team from the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) as it wound its three-day tour.

Retired four-time Olympic sprint silver medallist, Frankie Fredericks, Head of Delegation for the 17th African Athletics Championships, who led the assignment, however, acknowledged hosting the event in one of the busiest cities in Africa would pose challenges for local organisers.

"We are happy with the concept and what we have seen. We need to make sure that top athletes who will be here for the event have the best accommodation, facilities and great atmosphere. We are pleased with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) structure and how they are working," Fredericks, who is also the Athletes’ Representative at CAA said yesterday.

Challenges

He added: "There are challenges in bringing the championships in a big city and we have asked the LOC to ensure there is a good transportation plan in place to ensure that athletes do not have to sit in traffic jams for long."

The Namibian national, who was accompanied by CAA Vice-President and Technical Delegate Vivian Gungram from Mauritius and Secretary-General Lamine Faty from Senegal, stressed the need to ensure huge costs were not incurred to host the event. Fredericks also revealed the proposed April 18 test event could be postponed if all requirements for the championships were not in place.

He called for urgent collaboration between LOC and CAA to set up a promotion plan for the June 28 to August 1 event to tap on Kenyan athletes who are renowned world-beaters competing at home.

"Your runners wave your flag in many places worldwide and this is a chance for them to do so at home. They need to be given promotional information about the event. I will ask my colleagues to make this a priority event this year," he said.

On Nyayo National Stadium venue, the Head of Delegation noted: "The stadium surface is world-class, but there is a challenge in the warm-up area. The stadium was built for football and there is a metal fencing in the area designated for the Electronic Timing Device. But we have received assurances from stadium management it will be dealt with and it should be done at minimum cost."

Among proposals floated for the LOC to adopt are plans for countries to send names and pictures of their teams for the event in advance for accreditation purposes, ensuring hotels for athletes are as close to the stadium as possible and easing of visa processing.

Meanwhile, Kenya Prisons and Administration Police will hold their inter-divisional cross country championships to select their teams for the February 20 National Trials for Bydgoszcz.

At the Prisons Staff Training College in Ruiru, all eyes will be on Osaka 2007 world marathon champion, Luke Kibet, the men’s 12km defending champion and John Mwangangi, who trailed him to the tape with the pair lined-up for a sequel. While Kibet will be using the race to test his shape ahead of the road-running season, Mwangangi represents Prison’s best prospects of producing a squad member in the Kenyan team for the March 28 World Cross in Poland.

He leads the race for the Sh250,000 KCB/AK Cross Country Series jackpot in the men’s long race after winning in Machakos and Mount Elgon rounds, besides finishing third in Eldoret.

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