Kenya's hope high to host 2007 World Cross-country Champ

Kenya is the only country which has remained in the bid for the 2007 World Cross-country Championships after United States and Spain withdrew from the bidding process, officials said Monday.

A spokesman of the local organizing committee who is also the secretary general of Athletics Kenya (AK) David Okeyo said whether or not the east African nation will host the showcase will be known on November 19, 2005 in Moscow.

"We have very high chances of winning the bid especially with the commitment the government has shown," Okeyo told reporters in Nairobi.

He said the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa is the only venue incontention for the annual championship after the withdrawal of Miami and Madrid in favor of the Kenyan city, purportedly as an appreciation for the country's supremacy in cross-country which ithas won for a record 19 times.

However, Okeyo, a member of the IAAF Cross-country and Road Running Committee, warned that in spite of being the sole bidder, Mombasa's qualification was not automatic because it has to meet certain requirements that go with the bid.

"The General Director of the IAAF Pierre Weiss jets into the country on Friday this week for an evaluation meeting of our host city, Mombasa, and among the factors that he will inspect include the venue, hotels, the host broadcaster and the budget," he said.

Okeyo said the formal bidding papers will be submitted to IAAF by a September 30 deadline.

The east African nation has set aside two million US dollars tohost the event which has also received the full government backing.

It has chosen the slogan "Cross Country Comes Home" to market the bid which every Kenyan citizen is awaiting its outcome with anxiety.

The United States and Spain were the other two countries bidding to host the 2007 championships.

The Kenyan government announced in January that it had approvedand would fully support AK's bid to host the event in the port city of Mombasa.

The Japanese city of Fukuoka will host the 2006 championships, the first time the event is being held in Asia.

If approved, Kenya will become the third country in Africa to host the championship after South Africa and Morocco.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---