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Kasarani renovations to continue despite U20 postponement

By Lynette Matheka
Thursday, March 26th, 2020
Team Leader U20 United Kingdom, Trevor Painter inspects the track at Kasarani Stadium ahead of the postponed World Championship that were slated for the same venue. Photo/PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Renovations at the Moi International Sports Centre(MISC) Kasarani will continue as planned,  despite World Athletics Under 20 Championships, slated for July 7-12, having been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected sporting events globally. 

Sections of the stadium were closed from March 16 to give way for renovations, budgeted to cost Sh 332 million, as the country prepared to host three internationals sporting events,  among them the U20 World championship the World Athletics Continental Tour on May 2 and flagging off of the Safari Rally in July which would be making a comeback to the World Rally Championship (WRC)  after an 18-year absence.  

“World Athletics, together with the government of Kenya and Athletics Kenya(AK) have made the decision to postpone the World Athletics U20 Championship Nairobi 2020(July 7-12 ) due to the ongoing challenges posed by the spread of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) internationally. 

The current global situation would have seriously compromised the event this time as many countries are restricting international travel, invoking necessary quarantines and advising citizens and event organisers to avoid mass gatherings,” the joint statement, dated March 24, reads in part.  

It continues: “We had to consider the health and well-being of a 14 athletes,  officials and spectators in making this call.

We recognise the immense preparations that have gone into the event and wanted to give certainty to the athletes as early as possible as we collectively come to terms with the global impact and threat associated with Covid-19.”

The Local Organising Committee (LOC)  is set to continue with preparations. 

The organisers of the U20 event have vowed to work together to identify a mutually appropriate alternative date convenient for the government of Kenya and elite competitors.

While the Continental Tour event set for May 2 is likely to be postponed as well, Sports Kenya Director General (DG) Pius Meto confirmed that renovations would continue, albeit at a slower pace given the social distancing and other precautionary measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

 “The renovations will continue as we await new dates for the events.  We expected to complete works at the end of April in time for the May 2 Tour,  but now works will be slower since the manpower has to be reduced to avoid crowds. 

Some of the contractors are already on site and works at the warm up area began on Tuesday this week,” said Meto. 

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