NAIROBI, July 30 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s athletics officials on Thursday welcomed new dates for the World Under-20 Championships as World Athletics (WA) upheld Nairobi’s hosting rights for the rescheduled global athletics meeting.

The championships, originally slated for July 7-12 in Nairobi, were shelved following Covid-19 disruptions.

The city will now have a chance to host the global showpiece on Aug. 17-22 next year, just one week after the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei welcomed the announcement of the new dates, saying the work to host world-class events will commence immediately from where it was stopped due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is wonderful news for us Kenyans. We had covered huge ground in readiness to host the championships. Unfortunately the pandemic brought the world to a standstill. We are grateful WA gave us the chance again to host the championships in 2021,” Tuwei said.

Paul Kemei, who coaches many youngsters including world U20 5000m champion Beatrice Chebet, also welcomed the new dates.

“I have been training over 20 youngsters in readiness for the championships and now with new dates confirmed, this will give us enough time to prepare for the trials, thus compensating for the time lost during the Covid-19 lockdown,” said Kemei.

Kenya hosted the final edition of the IAAF World U18 Championships in 2017.