This week, Kenya plays host to the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017, a global event bringing together over 1,000 track and field athletes from 131 countries across the world.
This is the 10th and last edition of these Championships and it is fitting that Kenya plays host.
According to Sir Sebastian Coe, the IAAF President, who arrived in Nairobi several days ago, hosting this event is a huge moment for Kenya.
“This is a very big moment in the history of Kenyan athletics,” said Coe.
“So much of my career as an athlete was defined by great races and great competitions with Kenyan athletes. Kenyan athletes have made a huge mark on global sport, way before I became a senior international athlete. Your history is our history; our history is your history”.
I have had the pleasure of interacting with these championships in the past few weeks and as I looked at the profiles of the young athletes flying into Kenya and those of the past U18 champions, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with Junior golf development.
“These championships are an extraordinary opportunity to watch talent and champions of the future,” Coe told the press in Nairobi.
“It is through these championships that Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix and other greats have emerged. There’s no reason why we won’t see more jewels of the future throughout this week”.
Where can we watch Kenya’s or Africa’s budding golf talent? And how are we nurturing our next crop of elite amateur and professional golfers?
The amount of work that has gone into preparing the Athletes Village at Kenyatta University (KU), the stadium, the warm up area and so on has been intense and fairly expensive, but the results are clear for all to see.
To host a similar global junior golf event in Kenya would require a tenth or less of the resources – we already have the golf courses and thanks to the Ministry of Sports and KU, we now have a 1,800 pax facility in Nairobi for hosting athletes.
Sports CS Hassan Wario said Kenya has learnt a lot in the preparations to host the athletes.
“I want to thank Seb Coe in having confidence in Kenya and giving us the chance to host this great competition,” said Wario.
“This has been a huge learning curve for the country, and I think we are now ready for bigger things, having had this experience and having had this facility lifted to this level.
We are now looking to the next level of events”.
Can the Ministry of Sports and the Kenya Golf Union now get talking and discuss a global junior or elite amateur golf event?
Can we learn from Athletics Kenya, the LOC at Kasarani and the IAAF? Can we model junior golf development on what AK is doing for athletics?
So, this weekend, if you are in and around Nairobi, forget the golf clubs for a moment and come watch the next athletic stars compete at Kasarani.