Kenya may not have high-performing rugby or soccer teams, but what we do have as a country are world-class runners. Cycling past Sanlitun Taikooli the other day I spotted something epic on the Adidas store front: a giant blowup of current 800m world record holder, Olympic Gold medalist, and Kenyan national hero, David Rudisha. That’s when it fully sank in that the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) is in town.
Growing up, whenever there was a major track event such as the Olympics or IAAF, the nation would come to a standstill, people glued to their TV sets. My parents always allowed me to stay up late to watch our national heroes, and I always dreamed that one day I would watch my fellow Kenyans live.
This is my moment! And nothing, not even the restrictions affecting the city, will prevent me from going to dance, scream, and cheer on the athletes from my country and around the world taking part. The wonderful thing about athletics is that it’s inclusive: even little countries without the funds to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and development programs can send some athletes to represent their country. It provides everyone a chance to don their national regalia and celebrate. The world championships are a prelude on what to expect and who to watch out for in the upcoming Olympics, so catch the rising stars in Beijing, in the flesh for a taste of what summer 2016 has in store.
This coming week August 22 – 30, head over to the National Stadium aka Bird’s Nest and join in the fun. Tickets are available for purchase on the IAAF website and online payment accepts international and local cards. The most popular events are already sold out but still it’s worth checking out. If you want to make a day of it, you can also visit the Olympic Green park, the Science and Technology museum, or the Beijing Water Cube nearby.