After being delayed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fireworks soared above Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday night signaling the official kick off of the World Under-20 Championships.
Athletes from more than 100 countries marched at the blue synthetic track and in front of Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who is also the patron of the World Junior event.
Being a spectator-free event, there were no lively scenes witnessed during the World Under-18 Championships four years ago due to the pandemic.
“Over the next few days devoted fans across the globe look forward to watching exciting track and field events. To the athletes your dedicated training, practice and participation in this championships presents you with an opportunity to pursue your dreams,” said Kenyatta.
The First Lady also urged foreigners to take sample Kenya’s rich natural heritage besides the Championships.
“It is not only about competition. I urge you to make new friends and share special moments. Before you leave take some time to experience Kenya’s warm hospitality and rich heritage,” said Kenyatta.
Earlier in the day while addressing the press, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said he is expecting a very competitive event over the next five days.
The World Athletics boss said despite being a closed-door event, Coe said he still expecting a fantastic event.
“We will really miss the informed fans of the Kenyan athletics but nonetheless it would still be an outstanding Championships,” he said.
Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei welcomed the more than 1000 athletes who are already in the country.
“I wish to welcome all of you to Nairobi although it is a bit cold I hope you will enjoy your stay here in Kenya,” said Tuwei.
Kenyans will be in action in the mixed 4x400m relay heats, the first event of the championships set for Wednesday morning.
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