Sebastian Coe, Jackson Tuwei and David Rudisha during the world athletics under 20 press conference


E8_Z04MWEAQkS4Y.jpgJackson Tuwei, Seb Coe and David Rudisha, WAU20Nairobi2021, photo by Justin Lagat

The continuous coverage of the WAU20Nairobi 2021 Championships is one day away. This is the first column by Justin Lagat, our senior writer in Kenya. Justin writes weekly for us, and has since 2012-2013. We are most grateful for his insights and view of Kenyan athletics.

Today at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, the organizers were finalizing their readiness to hold the world athletics event that begins tomorrow. Everything seems to be in perfect condition for an exciting first day of the championships tomorrow. The timing machines; the toy cars for Javelin, shot put, hammer, and discus throws were being tested; together with the big screens and the speakers. It is all set to be a great event.

The main highlight of the afternoon was the press conferences that had the president of the World Athletics, Sebastian Coe; the president of Athletics Kenya, Jackson Tuwei, and the event's ambassador, David Rudisha.

Coe spoke about the importance of the world under 20 championships as not just a sport, but a way to shape the future of young athletes. He said that many coaches scouting for the best athletes focus mostly on the ages between 18 and 20 years and that most of the federations who are sending their athletes to these championships are grateful for the opportunity.

"Most notable athletes like Usain Bolt and David Rudisha have gone from being notable junior athletes to great senior athletes," he said. He also acknowledged Rudisha as the greatest 800m runner ever.

He used the opportunity to thank the organizing committee of the event, the Athletics Kenya federation, the ministry of sports, and the Kenyan president who he met in person the previous day, for the support in making sure that the event took place.

General Jackson Tuwei took the opportunity to thank the world athletics for accepting Kenya's bid to host the world under 20 championships and also to welcome everyone to Kenya and to enjoy their time while here.

"We shall take good care of you and ensure that you go back home safe and healthy, through constant testing and observing the COVID 19 protocols," Tuwei said.

David Rudisha touched on his excitement to see a world major event taking place in Kenya, and that he feels much connected with the world junior athletics event, given that his 800m win in 2006 as a junior at the world under 20 championships in Beijing is what motivated him to become the runner he is today.

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