Kenya eyes China support in sports development from FOCAC summit
Kenyna sportsmen will have China to thank for their help in developing and exposing their talent as the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) gets underway from Monday.
China's help in building the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi has played a major role in promoting Kenya's sports, especially indoor competitions like swimming, basketball and volleyball. Currently, Kenyan youth are witnessing the blossoming career of winger Ayub Timbe, who is playing for Chinese Super League side Beijing Renhe and many will look to take his path to enhance their careers in sports.
Recently, Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on the country's treasury website that he will be seeking better ways to expand corporation with China in all areas including sports.
The Chinese made their first impression in Kenya back in 1987 when they build the iconic Kasarani Stadium, which hosted the All Africa Games.
Kenya has recently sent a team of 25 table tennis players to China for training. The team from Kenya's Oshwal Sports Complex Table Tennis Club has just returned to Nairobi after a month-long professional training stint at the Zhengding International Table Tennis Training Center in Hebei Province, China.
The one-month training saw the players learn the latest playing techniques from the world's leading nation in Table Tennis.
Kenya Table Tennis Association President Andrew Mudibo said the time spent in China will yield a big impact on the local standards and the current level of table tennis in Kenya.
"China is the best in the world and you improve a lot when you learn from the best. This is what we want to boost our standards," he said.
In 2015, 16 members of China's national women's athletics team pitched camp at the High altitude Training Center in Iten for training ahead of the World Championships, which were staged in Beijing. China's Athletics Association appointed coach Renato Canova to oversee the women's middle- and long-distance running team.
With President Uhuru Kenyatta leading Kenya's delegation to China this week for the FOCAC meeting, more is expected in the area of sports development.
As of 2010, there were 50 sports arenas across Africa that were built with Chinese support, including Kasarani Stadium in Kenya.
It has recently gone under renovation by the Chinese Wi-Wu construction company to a tune of 200 million dollars, which included laying of a new astro-turf tartan that hosted the 2017 World Under-18 Championships.
Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Secretary General Nicholas Musonye has lauded the corporation China and Kenya have developed.
"We only have one stadium in Kenya of international stature and it's courtesy of China," he said.
Musonye said other countries in the region that are currently carrying out similar projects include Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Burundi.