The Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International School Sport Federation (ISF), an international sports governing body for school sport, to host the ISF World Schools Cross Country Championships in Nairobi in May 2024.
The MoU was signed by the President of Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA), Mr. Kipchumba Maiyo, and the President of ISF, Mr. Laurent Petrynka at Jogoo House, the Ministry of Education’s headquarters.
The endorsement, which is critical in demonstrating the Government’s commitment to supporting the Championships, was witnessed by the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Education, Mr. Ezekiel Machogu, and the Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang.
Machogu hailed the decision by ISF to let Kenya host the event that will see learners between ages 12 and 18 from over 134 countries take part in the Cross-Country championships in the Race Course area.
He said Kenya’s education reform had anchored sports in the curriculum providing options for talented young people to nurture it to the fullest possible extent and make a career out of it.
The CS pledged the government’s support for the event assuring that the entire government and the people of Kenya will support it.
In his remarks, Mr. Petrynka said the ISF championship is very important as it provides an education through sports and student athletics.
He added that the Championship aims to promote school sports in all its forms as an educational tool for the physical, intellectual, moral, social, and cultural development of students.
The ISF President expressed satisfaction with how Kenyan authorities had shown support for the championship saying that it was sufficient to assure the safety and security of the athletes.
He admitted Kenya had ample hospitality facilities and an international reputation for hosting high-level events which will build on the success of the last ISF Cross Country championships that was held in Slovakia.
Concurrently, KSSA President Kipchumba Maiyo reiterated that Kenya had attained international status in school sports prowess.
He said that sports helped young people ventilate energies and create the discipline of mind and body that enabled them to stay away from social evils.
In attendance during the occasion included the President of Athletics Kenya, Lt (Rtd) General Jackson Tuwei, Director of field Coordination and Co-Curricular Activities, Mr. Hassan Duale, and senior officials of KSSSA.
The first official ISF championships were in football and volleyball, which both took place in 1972, athletics, basketball, handball, and skiing championships followed a year later.
By Michael Omondi