The long wait ends:Kenyan Welcomes the world in a colorful opening ceremony,WU18 Nrb


The opening ceremony for the tenth edition of IAAF World U-18 Championships was presided over by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyattaat Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on today.

The ceremony was short and crisp without any elaborate display as always witnessed in other global events like the world championships, Fifa World Cup and the Olympics.

The 30 minutes opening ceremony commenced at 4.30pm with belting of the national anthem and that of the East Africa Legislative Assembly by the state band.

This was followed by a colorful march by hundreds of school pupils from the stadium's main entrance into the arena while displaying and waving flags of the 131 participating countries.

Championships patron and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta stole the show while flanked by former and current world beaters including world 800m record holder David Rudisha, World Javelin Champion Julius Yego and former world cross country champion Douglas Wakiihuri.

Others were former Olympics steeplechase champion Julius Kariuki, former national hurdle ace Rose Tata Muya, Olympics marathon silver medalist Catherine Ndereba, IOC Peace Ambassador Tecla Lorupe and former world 3000m silver medalist Mercy Cherono among others.

The First Lady had a brief jog with her contingent on the newly refurbished track before she officially welcomed the President to take charge of the celebrations.

The crowd waved miniature Kenyan flags as the President embarked on his speech that gave fans a reprieve by declaring the five day championships free for all.

"I declare that the event will be free for all, let Kenyans come and watch these global championships as it unfolds in our beloved country," Uhuru said.

In his speech, the President said sports is an integral part of our society that is making Kenya a key pillar in the international games.

"Personally, I want to thank the IAAF for giving Kenya the rare opportunity to host this global event .The event provides a unique platform to unearth new talent and develop future champions," Uhuru said while adding that Kenya is committed to clean and ethical sport practices.

"This Championship is not only about winning but building new networks and furthering your horizons,"Uhuru said.

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Sports Kenya (SK) was founded through the Sports Act of January 25 2013 by an Act parliament as a successor to Sports Stadia Management Board and the department of Sports in the ministry of sports, culture and the arts.

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