The cradle of mankind, Africa, has suffered immensely both in the hands of foreigners and local despots. One of the greatest pains inflicted on the motherland is the stereotypical reference to the continent by western media as a ‘hot bed of terror’.
And that is what prompted our big western brothers; Britain, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and….you guessed right, the U.S.A, to pull out from the IAAF World U18 Championships which concluded last Sunday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. All these countries gave the competition a wide berth citing ‘security concerns’.
As Kenya’s Capital Sports reports – in a world where terror has been witnessed in some of those countries that were perceived to be safe; like the UK, US, Germany, Belgium, France among others, pundits say that it smirks of double standards to brand specific places as prone to terror…and to treat them as so.
The continent is basking in relative peace: the event was a shocking success; security was at it’s best, and attendance records were smashed across the board.
This was only the first time this youth championship was being hosted in Africa, the first having been in Morocco in 2005. And sadly, it’s the last World U18 Championship ever as the IAAF is scrapping the event off from its athletics calendar.
And if there was one great thing about the 2017 IAAF World U18 Championships then it was the mammoth 60,000 fans who thronged the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani as Kenya delighted the world athletics governing body IAAF with that historic turnout.
No such crowd has ever been recorded in an IAAF youth event. And is it turns out, those jittery nations that pulled out only missed out on a memorable world class event.
There were no reported incidents like terror scare, violent crime, theft or terror. This is a hotbed of beauty. Fans turned up decked in the Pan African colours and spirit, and they had only one common spoken language called ‘Beauty’.
On the tracks, South Africa led Africa’s medal exploits, to emerge top of the world in the overall medal standings. China came in at Second, followed by Cuba as Kenya and Ethiopia came in at fourth and fifth respectively.
Again IAAF President Sebastian Coe has always insisted that during his presidency at the IAAF, Africa will host a world championship.
It’s now up to African athletics federations in countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco to put in a firm bid for a leg of the IAAF’s Diamond League series or the World Championships…or even, the Olympics!Follow @Muisyo_