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IAAF and University of Tsukuba strengthen ties to pass the Olympic legacy from Rio to Nairobi on its way to Tokyo 2020

Blind football. (Photo: Lilamani de Soysa)
by Lilamani de Soysa, Director of International Relations, TIAS

NAIROBI, July 25, 2017 - It's all about the values of sport. On 16th July 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya, during the IAAF World U18 Athletics Championships, the IAAF and the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at University of Tsukuba joined forces once again to promote the values of sport through Kids' Athletics and the Nanairo Ekiden, which included education on disability, environmental issues as well as Olympic and Paralympic Values. The first of such events, consolidating the University of Tsukuba and IAAFpartnership, was held in Rio in 2016.

The opening ceremony was graced by the Deaf Girls School from Machakos County and their wonderful dance performance.

Great Partnerships lead to great events

Close to 500 participants, including around 400 kids from 9 primary schools from Nairobi (Mathare, Korogocho, Kibera, Kenyatta University Primary School, Ngong) and other areas of Kenya (Machakos School for the Deaf, Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind and 2 schools from the Masai Mara - Endoyiosidai and Inchorroi), took part in the event. Organisations such as the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, Douglas Wakihuri Street Kids, Light of Hope Youth Initiative from Machakos as well as the United Nations Office in Nairobi were also part of the event. The Kenyatta University provided the grounds as well as the student volunteers, who did an admirable job. Volunteers from the Kenya Table Tennis Association and the Mathare Youth and Sport Association (MYSA) also helped with the Nanairo Ekiden.

The IAAF Athletics for a Better World Programme was run by IAAF trainer, Innocent Asimwe from Uganda together with local trainers. Participants tested some of the essential athletics skills - running, jumping and throwing including their aptitudes on the "Formula 1" obstacle course.

The Kids' Athletics programme was followed by the Nanairo Ekiden, an inclusive relay race where mixed teams run together, inspired by Olympic and Paralympic values. Nanairo Ekiden is a new formula designed by the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, based on a traditional relay race where the runners pass a "tasuki" to each other. Each team runs for one of the Olympic and Paralympic values of Friendship, Respect, Excellence, Determination, Inspiration, Courage and Equality. Each team also has to take into consideration gender, disability, age etc. A truly inclusive event.

(Photo: Lilamani de Soysa)

During the Nanairo Ekiden, participants were also introduced to disability awareness through blind football and Takkyu Volley, a sitting table tennis game invented in Japan, which can be played by anyone, including persons with severe disability. Olympic and Paralympic Value education OVEP was also part of the programme.

Inspiration and Excitement

Several IAAF top officials and iconic athletes such as Tegla Loroupe (marathon world champion) and David Rudisha (double Olympic 800 metre champion and world record holder) attended the event. They both signed the ribbons for the Nanairo Tree with their dreams and hopes for Tokyo 2020.

After the event, all the participants were taken to the Kasarani where they watched the finals of the IAAF U18 World Championships.

Kids' Athletics. (Photo: Lilamani de Soysa)

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