Tue | Nov 24, 2020

Nairobi safe for World U-18 Champs - Blake

Published:Tuesday | July 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Dr Warren Blake
Kevona Davis of Jamaica speaks to the media during a press conference ahead of the IAAF U18 World Championships yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya. Davis will contest the girls' 100m heats in the afternoon session.

The ninth and last staging of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships starts today in Nairobi, Kenya with several countries absent due to security concerns. Jamaica is there and Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Warren Blake reckons that the absentees have overreacted. President Blake says the IAAF takes security seriously.

Speaking in Kingston last week, Doctor Blake said: "We think that the nations who pulled out ... are overreacting a bit." Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA withdrew, citing security concerns.

"The fact is that when the IAAF sets up their camps, they do take a lot of security concerns in place they do have some of the best security consultants," he reported. In the same vein, he noted increased attention to security since the 1972 Olympics ,where there was a shooting of Israel athletes.

"The security at all the World events has been stepped up," he reassured.

Amongst the dignitaries in Nairobi for the event is Sebastian Cole, the 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1500 metre champion.

The Championships will be contested inside the Moi International Sports Complex in the Kasarani neighbourhood of Nairobi. That is 14 kilometres away from Eastleigh, which is named in a government travel advisory to Canadian citizens. The advisory says "Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi, where several attacks have taken place."

The advisory does not pinpoint Kasarani or other areas of Nairobi as trouble spots.

"Global Affairs Canada also advises against all travel to the areas within 100 km of the borders with South Sudan and Ethiopia due to armed banditry and cross-border violence."