Kenya to use Continental Tour as dry run for World Under-20 C'ships

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NAIROBI, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will use the World Athletics Continental Tour in May as a dry run to gauge their preparedness for hosting the World Under-20 Championships in July.

Nairobi will host the first round of the newly inaugurated Continental Tour on May 2, one month before the World Under-20 Championships.

Amina Mohamed, the sports cabinet secretary said on Thursday that Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, which is being renovated, will have the best chance to test its track tartan.

"Organization plans are going on well. The steering committee meets every Monday to review the progress and I believe we are on track," Mohamed told journalists in Nairobi.

Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jack Tuwei added that hosting the Continental Tour, which will offer 20 million shillings (200,000 U.S. dollars) prize purse, will give Nairobi the best rehearsal for hosting the World Athletics junior championships, which will have over 80 countries bringing in their best young talent.

"We are happy World Athletics is offering Nairobi the first test with the Continental Tour. This is the first time such competition is being held and Nairobi will be under scrutiny. We need to pass this test because there are 10 countries from Kenya to China, Poland and Germany. We were considered especially against a number of countries who are very developed," Tuwei said.

Mohamed noted that the government led by President Uhuru Kenyatta will spare nothing as they seek to have the best two international championships in Nairobi.

The Continental Tour, which starts in Nairobi will also visit three other continents - Asia, Europe and North America - with the first meeting in Nairobi on May 2, followed by Tokyo (May 10) and Nanjing (May 13). The series will finish in Zagreb in September.

"This is something that President Uhuru Kenyatta and I had lobbied for edging out South Africa and the USA to get to host this leg in the ten-round Continental Cup. We are getting ready and we don't want to lose this opportunity to showcase Kenyan athletes and the people," Amina said.

The third World Athletics inspection team will be in Nairobi on Tuesday led by the executive director of communications Jackie Brocke-Doyle to review the organizational progress. They will be in the country for two days. Enditem

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