USA opts out of World junior championships in ‘Critical threat’ Kenya this July

 

  • USA will not send a delegation of athletes for the forthcoming IAAF World Junior championships in Nairobi, Kenya, citing insecurity reasons.
  • The team finished overall winners two years ago in Cali Columbia with 19 medals, six more than second placed Kenya.
  • This will be the last IAAF world junior championships with the body opting for regional events instead.
  • The number of nations that have withdrawn from the junior events stands at six, Britain, New Zealand, USA  Australia, Canada and Switzerland.

Powerhouses USA have announced they will not take part in forthcoming IAAF World U18 Championships, this July in Nairobi, Kenya because the country has been labelled as a critical threat by the U.S. Department of State.

 The USA Track & Field is the United States national governing body for the sports of track and field USATF, made the announcement on Monday, 6, February 2017.

USA withdrawal from the championships brings the number of high profile nations to pull out of the youth event to six after Britain announced it would not participate at the Nairobi event this past December, New Zealand withdraw last month  Australia, Canada and Switzerland.

A letter sent from USATF to youth coaches around the country states that the decision stems from Kenya’s designation as a critical threat by the U.S. Department of State.

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“Critical” is the highest crime and terrorism rating possible. Due to increased security costs and the fact that all athletes would be aged 18 and younger, USATF has decided not to hold a selection event nor to travel to the championship.

Last July, IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced that the IAAF World Youth Championships would be discontinued after 2017. In the future, the IAAF will host regional events instead of a world championship for youth and junior athletes.

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Athletics Kenya (AK)  Nairobi branch chairman Barnabas Korir has bemoaned the rate at which countries are opting out of the championships calling on the country to speed up in all aspects to ensure the country is ready for the huge event.

"Of course hosting such a big event you want the best nations to attend. I think the government and AK have to put the house in order so that we can send a message of a peaceful and ready nation to the rest of the world,"

AK Nairobi branch chairman Barnabas Korir

The 2015 edition of the event in Cali, Colombia saw Team USA take home a record haul of 19 medals to finish top overall. In second was Kenya with 13 medals, dived into five gold, four silver and a similar number of Bronze medals.

 

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