Kenya is not only the cradle of mankind but it is also the source of the worlds greatest long distance champions. Our future in the lime light is determined by the continued ability to nurture young talent, who are appearing in waves and sweeping gold medals in global athletic events. It is also based on our ability to retain our world beaters and avoid losing them to foreign nations that offer better pay and recognition.
At the last Olympic Games we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when we converted our historic performance into the most vile publicity due to the bad behavior of a few sports administrators. However, we now have an opportunity to redeem ourselves.
We received with gladness the news about Nairobi’s winning bid to host the 2017 IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Under 18 Championships. Our very own Deputy Governor of Nairobi, Jonathan Mueke, represented the city during the bid submission where the Green City in the Sun came ahead of Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain.
This is a great achievement for Nairobi, and indeed the country, as we receive over 6,000 participants from156 countries between 12th and 16th of July this year. As the youth championships will be broadcast in over 200 nations it behoves us to put our best foot forward if we intend to milk this thing for all its worth. We literally won’t get another chance to make an impression because it is the grand finale of the IAAF under 18 championships.
After 10 editions of the event, the athletics association believes that there are better ways of inducting youth into mainstream competition even though luminaries like world-record holder Usain Bolt made their international debuts in previous IAAF youth events.
In a conversation with deputy governor Mueke last week, he emphasized that because Kenya is the first Sub-Saharan country to host a track and field event of this magnitude, there is a need to lay out world-class performances befitting of an international valedictory show. We intend to make a strong statement through spectacular opening and closing ceremonies where we will present our best performing artists as they provide memorable entertainment for our guests and the world at large.
Shakira’s example of producing an international hit from a World Cup theme song, or the amazing performance of Lady Gaga at the 2017 Super Bowl sets the stage for what our local talent may aspire to. This could even provide a window for the launch of a global career in entertainment. The chosen dance troops, musicians and acrobats will receive tremendous publicity during the event promotion, and they will perform before a 10,000 strong live audience, reaching viewers in over 200 countries — not bad for a day’s work.
Both local and international advertising will attract a sellout crowd, with the best ROI coming from online and social media. The advertising will also serve as a source of information to assist with traffic flow and help the resident to play a supporting role in hosting our international guests.
Hospitality and recreational services with switched-on managers should have already initiated their own advertising to pull crowds to their establishments as the tourists jet in. In addition to this it is known that exotic nightlife, shopping and leisure activities are major attractions and should be added in the international marketing content.
After all the negative publicity we received following the Rio Olympics, Kenya’s redemption within the sports fraternity also lies in the ability of our people to personally promote this event and present a positive image as one of the worlds greatest sporting nations.