The official mascot for the 17th edition of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya - Shujaa has been launched. The word 'Shujaa' in Kiswahili means Champion.
The championships will be held at the Nairobi's Nyayo National Stadium from July 28 to August 1. The occasion was presided over by top Government and Athletics Kenya officials and top athletes.
Kenyan Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sport, James Waweru, Athletics Kenya Chairman, who is also the chairman of the Local organising Committee Isaiah Kiplagat, Local Organising Committee's Chief Executive Officer David Okeyo, various sub-committee heads, former five-time World Cross Country champion and former marathon world record holder, Paul Tergat, who is the championship's ambassador all attended.
Kiplagat said they were late in importing various equipment as well as making hotel bookings but added this would not affect their readiness for the event.
"Certain things have not been brought, but we are working hard on this and it won't affect our preparation for the event," said Kiplagat.
Kiplagat announced that the tartan for warm-up arrives this month while the electronic scoreboard is expected before the end of the month.
“The equipment has been packed and is just awaiting to be dispatched.
"Kenya Airways will soon announce their partnership with us on the rebates on air tickets,"” he said.
Kiplagat said they have pushed the national trials to June 27 where they will use the new equipment for test trials.
"This will give us at least one month before the real event kicks off and we will have enough time to rectify what needs to be done,” he said.
'No cause for alarm'
Waweru said the Government has met their obligations towards the championships.
"Our obligation was to give money and we did. Any delays have been caused by the procurement process but this is being addressed and there is no cause for alarm," he added.
Waweru also announced that the government would waive visa fees for all the 1,300 foreign participants.
Tergat challenged the organising committee to make sure we hold a successful competition.
"I have just returned from Ethiopia and South Africa and they are all excited about the championships. All efforts must be put in place to ensure a successful event that will attract local fans,"” he added.
Okeyo said they will announce the major sponsors of the event on Monday May 10.
"The unveiling of this mascot is a major milestone for our committee and in this regard we will unveil our sponsors on Monday,” he said.
Shujaa in Kiswahili means Champion. As you can see, Shujaa is a lion. The lion is the king of the jungle – the champion! There is no doubt about it, Kenya is the home for long distance running champions. It is for this reason that we named our mascot Shujaa.
Shujaa has traveled many miles across the seas to get here and we are proud that he has arrived safe and sound. He had to be specially ordered from a far distant country which specializes in mascot production as he was expected to meet international standards.
Shujaa will be doing a lot of work to promote the championship and will be a regular feature in any of the lined up events leading to the Championships.
Shujaa will welcome guests at the airport, join people at parties and interact with the public at any athletic events. He will also join our athlete ambassadors in the championships promotion.
He a nice, friendly, fluffy, strong and happy character and will have plenty of time to pose for photos with many admirers young or old.