Sun, 11 Apr 2021

NAIROBI, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Global attention is affixed on the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, and in Kenya, plans to produce and nurture future talent to the quadrennial showpiece received a boost on Wednesday.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nairobi County Government to develop an OlympAfrica Youth Center in the outskirts of the country's capital.

Under the agreement, the NOCK will acquire free land in Ruai, located 20km east of Nairobi's central business district, to set up the center designated to give promising talent the skills required to be successful Olympians.

The local Olympic body in a statement issued on Wednesday evening said the MOU was signed by its president and retired distance running great Paul Tergat and County of Nairobi acting Governor, Ann Kinanu.

"Together, we are impacting generations and creating a legacy that's sustainable and beneficial," Tergat, a former marathon record holder and two-time Olympics silver medal winner, remarked.

Visiting OlympAfrica director of programs Ndiate Sall and top County officials witnessed the event that was a culmination of negotiations between the capital's administration and the NOCK to seek space to set up the center in the congested Kenyan capital.

"OlympAfrica will provide seed funding for the complex, whereas the NOCK will take up the operational cost," NOCK said.

The land will be used to construct sporting and social facilities that will benefit youth and the community in the region surrounding the facility.

"This project once completed will be a game-changer in terms of socio-economic impact on our youth and sports development, especially with the OlympAfrica deliberate choice of areas that are disadvantaged," it added.

With Kenya renowned for its established excellence in distance running, the center will be a focal point in developing talent in other Olympics sporting disciplines.

In the country's long history at the Olympics stretching from their debut at the Melbourne 1956 Games in Australia, Kenya has wrought 31 gold, 38 silver, and 34 bronze medals to become the most decorated African nation at the event.

This is in spite of the country boycotting the 1976 and 1980 Games but the medal haul has only come from two disciplines- athletics and boxing.

Acting NOCK Secretary General, Francis Mutuku, noted that Nairobi had set an example for the other 46 counties in Kenya's devolved system of government to emulate, urging them to apply for similar projects countrywide.

"We have been talking about transforming the youth, and this is one of the ways to transform them. As for the next steps, we will start putting together the plan, the IOC has been promoting through Agenda 2020 cheaper ways of bringing sports to the community," the official added.

Created in 1989, the International Olympafrica Foundation promotes the social development of young people through sport.

Its initiatives, which are carried out in partnership with various sports organizations, have been implemented in some 40 centers in more than 35 African countries.

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