Nairobi — The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) is set to construct a world class multi-purpose OlympAfrica Centre in Kenya in the capital city after the County Government of Nairobi gave the mother body sports organization a piece of land in Ruai, Kasarani Constituency.
The first OlympAfrica Centre in Kenya will feature a multi-purpose indoor gymnasium for sports and education activities, a running track, football field, restaurant, volleyball, basketball, handball, tennis courts and swimming pool.
In addition, it will have hostels, a health center, spectator stands/bleachers and a perimeter wall.
OlympAfrica has committed funds of up to Ksh38mn (USD 350,000) as seed money to finance the project.
"The operational aspects will be done according to the environment. The multi-purpose centre will allow youth to try different sports. It will also be developed in a sustainable model, derived from best use of the resources and continuous funding to sustain the program," NOC-K Ag Secretary General Francis Mutuku, who was accompanied by the first vice-president Shadrack Maluki, said.
He added; "One of the critical partnerships NOC-K will develop is with schools, to have the students use the facility for talent identification and spreading of Olympic Values. There are ten schools within a short distance of the allocated land, which made it preferred as the most ideal for the development of the centre."
Nairobi County Deputy Governor, Ann Mwenda Kananu, confirmed her commitment to the project, calling on NOC-K to ensure the facility benefits youths from all the 17 wards in Nairobi.
"I was a judoka, as well as a centre in basketball, therefore I know the power of sport to the youth. The County is in full support of the development of the youth centre in Kasarani. We hope that the same can be implemented in the 17 sub-counties of Nairobi," Kananu, who was flanked by his County Executive Committee Members led by Janet Ouko, who holds the Education, Youth, Sports, Gender Affairs, Culture and Social Services docket, stated while signing the Memorandum of Understanding..
The Centre will be built under the auspices of OlympAfrica, with the main objective being to provide easily accessible sports for disadvantaged youth as well as advance social development through sport. The Centres have been opened and are operational in 37 African countries.
The Centre in Kenya will work as a partnership, OlympAfrica will provide seed funding, Olympics Kenya and sponsors will fund the daily operation costs, the County Government will provide land - serviced with water, electricity and connection to urban networks and the local community will be in charge of its management and support the implementation.
NOC-K through its Youth Commission has been developing the concept of having the Centre in Kenya and have had ongoing engagements with the County Government to avail land.
With this development, OlympAfrica Foundation heads will visit the country to inspect the land allocated, and the project will begin as soon as possible.
"The county is offering its full support; we wouldn't want to let this opportunity pass for the youth of Nairobi. We need to take advantage of all opportunities to improve the quality of life. We will make sure the project has started well and that is why we have started by giving you the MOU today, and certificate of lease, to assist your office as you proceed with the plans," Ouko stated.
Leading sports stars have given their endorsement for the project, including Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama, retired Kenya Sevens skipper Humphrey Kayange, Malkia Strikers setter Jane Wacu and World Champion Hellen Obiri.
"We have a lot of talent in the country, we only need to support the talented youth by providing them with training facilities and equipment and tap the talent early and we will get Olympic Champions. This Centre will be one of the best things to do for sports in Kenya," Obiri affirmed.