REMARKS BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR SPORTS, CULTURE, AND HERITAGE DURING THE 13TH EDITION OF AFRICA MASTERS ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP NAIROBI 2021
Mr. Joe Okudo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Sports,
Ms Margit Jungmann, World Masters Athletics President,
Leonie Paulette Etong, Africa Masters Athletics President
Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, President Athletics Kenya
Distinguished Fellow Masters,
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the final day of 2021 Africa Masters Athletics Championship where veteran Athletes from different parts of our continent came to showcase their athletics prowess and talent. I am glad to note that this year’s event also attracted a few athletes from outside the continent.
I am delighted to see, interact and celebrate our heroes and heroines who brought glory in athletics during their younger years still determined to continue flying their respective countries flags high at their golden ages. This reinforces the fact that age is just a number. Indeed, talent never fades away and neither does it have an expiry date. This event ensures continued active life in athletics after retiring from main competition events. It ensures sustained health and fitness of athletes as well as mental wellness. I am glad to note that Masters Athletics is open to anyone above the age of 35 years. Many of us therefore have an opportunity to showcase our talents in old age, even if we missed the opportunity earlier on in life for one reason or another.
I thank the World Masters Athletics for choosing Kenya to host this year’s event. As we are aware, Kenya has performed very well in the past events. For instance, our country emerged ranked 18th out of 162 participating countries in the World Masters Championship 2016 held in Perth, Australia and maintained the same position in 2018 Malaga in Spain. Our athletes emerged 2nd in the 2019 Africa Masters Athletics Championship in Rades, Tunisia.
We remember many of our athletes across the world, founder masters, who, though not here with us today, played a major role in shaping the world of athletics. We shall tell their stories for ever. Indeed, Masters events such as this helps all of us reminisce their performance.
The successful hosting of this event is a confirmation that Kenya is a sporting destination. This year we hosted The World Rally Championship, World Athletics Under 20 Championship, Africa Rugby Junior Trophy Championship (Barthes Cup), Africa Ball Games Deaflimpics Championship, various regional, Continental and World Cup qualifiers of various sports disciplines among others. This status has been achieved by the Government’s commitment of resources to develop and maintain world class sporting infrastructure, creating a conducive sporting environment and building technical capacity of our people to coordinate and officiate these events.
Many of the founding members of the athletics have passed on and most are no longer involved with the game. However, at this time I believe there is still a wealth of information around and even though some of the defining stories will never be told, I hope that this short history of the athletics Kenya Masters will go some way to preserving at least some of the many fond memories of our glorious days.
Once again, I congratulate all the participants from the different parts of our continent and beyond for your commitment, passion, dedication, and hard work you despite all the setbacks brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. You are the heroes and heroines of this continent. I wish you journey mercies and all the best as you travel back to your respective countries.
In concluding, I thank the organizing committee, Athletics Kenya, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, other Government Agencies, partners, and stakeholders for the successful hosting of this important event in the World Masters Athletics calendar.
I now declare The 13th Edition of Africa Masters Athletics Championship Nairobi 2021, officially closed.