No security fears in Kenya - Blake

June 21, 2017
Dr. Warren Blake

Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association president, Dr Warren Blake, said he is not worried about security at next month's World Under-18 Championships in Kenya, despite the withdrawal of some of the world's biggest nations.

Last week, Japan became the latest country to cite security concerns as its reason to pull out of the championships in Nairobi, following the United States, New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and Switzerland.

Blake told STAR Sports that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had security arrangements in place for all major championships and he was confident.

"At all these World Championships, the IAAF, in conjunction with the local organisers, usually has a strong security presence. They assess the security risks of countries and they put the appropriate measures in place. Unless I get the understanding that the IAAF security measures have deteriorated, I will not be unduly concerned," Blake told STAR Sports yesterday.


Killing 150 people


Kenya has had major terrorist incidents, the last being April 2015 when gunmen stormed a university in Garissa, killing 150 people and injuring several others.

Among the fears this year is concern that a general election, set for August, may cause political tensions to rise, coinciding with the championship.

Blake, however, said Kenya has had no recent incident.

"No incident has been reported and nothing has come from the international scene to suggest that security has deteriorated. If something had deteriorated we would have to change our position. If I was to take that attitude, I would never travel, but it is a situation that we monitor on a regular basis and nothing has happened to change the position of the JAAA," he said.

The USA won the last World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, bagging 19 medals, including 11 gold, five silver, and five bronze. Kenya were second with 16 medals, including four gold, five silver and seven bronze.

Last year, IAAF president Sebastian Coe announced that the World Under-18 Championships, formerly known as the World Youth Championships, would be discontinued after this year's event.

Jamaica's Christopher Taylor won a gold medal in the 400m at the last world Youth Championships in Cali two years ago.

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