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Kenya bask in glory of hosting successful
World Youth Championships

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya sports officials are basking in the glory of hosting one of the most successful World U18 championships in its history.

The officials now want the world to take Kenya seriously as a sports destination.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei says the event success has unlocked the potential the country has to stage other top competition even beyond track and field.

Kenya spent over 2 billion U.S. dollars to stage the event including buying new equipment.

“We have proved to the world that we have the fans and the stadium. Now we need to get sponsors and bid for bigger competitions,” he said.

The World Championships and continental football competitions are on the card, though the reluctance with the government to endorse such bids remains the biggest hurdle.

During the five day World Under-18 Championships in Athletics Kenya finished fourth overall after bagging 15 medals in total (four gold medals, seven silver and four bronze medals) behind South Africa, China and Cuba.

However the absence of giants United States of America, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland and Japan leaves a lot to be desired. The seven countries opted not to risk sending their teams to Kenya citing security concerns.

But as the curtain came down on the championship, Local Organising Committee chairman Jack Tuwei said he was impressed with the standards shown by Kenyan teams and organisers.

“I’m happy with our team for emerging fourth overall though they had many medals than other countries. They have done us proud and that should be the way to go in future events,” said Tuwei.

He also said that the success of the event showed that Kenya can host one leg of the IAAF Diamond League Series and even the Senior World Championships in Athletics.

“Our ability to deliver this event to success has shown that we can even have a Diamond League series or World Championships and I want to thank the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) for believing in us,” added Tuwei.

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