• Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui wins the men's marathon athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships London 2017


December 2, 2014

Kenya recently put in a successful bid to host the 10th edition of the IAAF World Youth Athletics Championships. They become the second African country after Morocco in 2005 to host the event which was first staged in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Now that we are done with the bidding part of the event, how can these championships be of benefit to the host nation?

Tell the Kenyan story

Kenya has long been considered a bastion of athletics, churning out world beaters over the years. Indeed, the list is endless. The championships will set the perfect stage to tell the Kenyan story, using our own world beaters to describe the Kenyan narrative whilst encouraging the world to witness the birth of the next crop of world beaters, both local and international.

Kenya has been a stellar performer at these championships, dominating the leaderboard right from inception. The results below only serve to amplify the Kenyan story.

1999 – Bydgoszcz, Poland

Kenya topped the overall standings with 5 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze.

2001- Debrecen, Hungary

Kenya placed second overall with 4 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze

2003 –Sherbrooke, Canada

A third place finish for Kenya with 3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze

2005- Marrakesh, Morocco

The Kenyan class of 2005 returned to second overall at the close of the championships with 5 gold and 5 silver

2007- Ostrava, Czech Republic

These championships saw Kenya once again finish second overall with their best ever haul yet garnering 6 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze

2009 – Bressanoe, Italy

The Kenyan juggernaut rolled on, bettering their previous medal haul, topping the championships with 6 gold, 7 silver and 1 bronze

2011 –Lille, France

5 gold, 5 silver , 4 bronze as Kenya finished second behind the USA

2013 – Donetsk, Ukraine

4 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze for second place behind Jamaica.

Overall Kenya has won 35 gold, 33 gold and 17 bronze since the first championships in 1999 and are one of the most successful countries in the Youth championship history.


Unite the country

The World Youth Athletics championships in 2017 is an opportunity for Kenyans to collectively encapsulate the spirit of champions. This is an opportunity for the country to use past and future Kenyan stars to actively participate in the spirit and excitement of hosting the event in a manner that invokes the Kenyan spirit.

The country has received a lot of negative press but the buzz around hosting the championships should be the cue for Kenyans to stay positive. This can be attained by staying positive, by spreading the cheer, by getting each other excited all in the spirit of welcoming the world with warm Kenyan affection. This will unify Kenyans and play a big role in how the world perceives us as hosts.


Hosting the championships in 2017 is an opportunity for Kenya to showcase itself to billions of people the world over.

Ideally, the championship’s impact should endure well after its closing ceremony. This can be the platform for Kenya to aggressively market itself as a sports tourism destination and encourage more international sporting events to be hosted in the country as a result of investments in capacity building and infrastructure development based around the event.



Email : media@athleticskenya.or.ke