Why top countries including the US skipped the highly successful IAAF event in Nairobi

Kenyans cheer during the IAAF world under-18 championships in Nairobi

The just concluded IAAF World Under-18 Championships held on July 12-16 in Nairobi was missing some big names despite the smashing success.

Several top countries dealt Kenya a big blow after the pulled out of the event leaving a thinner line up at the event.

Last year, the United States who are the defending champions pulled out of the event citing security concerns.

The US joined five other countries in skipping the last edition of the global event as the countries assessed that it would be risky for their athletes to attend.

New Zealand, Britain, Australia, Canada and Switzerland were the first to announce they would be not be attending causing fury in the country for what government officials termed as costly snubs.

Britain set off the major withdrawals when they announced they had pulled out of the Nairobi 2017 meet in what ignited a protest at the IAAF Council Meeting in Monaco.

Most of the countries pointed out that the event was being help two weeks prior to the elections and that there could be threats of violence and potential threat of attack by terror group Al-Shabaab.

In snubbing the event, the US aid that the US department of State gives Kenya a crime and terrorism rating of “Critical” which is the highest level possible.

“The State Department’s security summary includes risks for all types of crime, from theft to violent crime and terrorism. Given the “Critical” threat, the high cost associated with our team’s increased security needs, and that the team would be composed of children, USATF will not select or travel a team to this event,” a letter sent to USTAF to youth coaches across the US last year read.

Their fears seemed unfounded as Kenya hosted a very successful and event free championship prompting many to classify the decision by the countries to pull out as a shame.

Last year, world governing body IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced that the IAAF World Youth Championships would be discontinued after Nairobi 2017.




  1. Such a shame that these countries pulled out citing insecurity having followed closely the championships in the five days they have been competing im proud to say Kenya pulled out the best event ever, and the fans turn out especially on the final day epic!! Their loss they just missed an opportunity to showcase their best talent whereas giving other countries an opportunity to shine. Their loss.. Kenya kudos. We are proud


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