It’s only fair that Africa stands with Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jackson Tuwei in his bid to join the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) leadership.
Tuwei will battle for one the four positions at stake in the Vice President’s docket with nine contestants, including Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau from Nigeria, in the running during the IAAF Congress on September 25, two days before the start of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Others seeking to defend their positions are Sergey Bubka from Ukraine, who is also the Senior Vice President, and Alberto Juantorena from Cuba.
Cameroonian Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, who is also the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) President, won’t seek re-election as one of the Vice Presidents.
Other contestants are Ahmad Al Kamali from the United Arab Emirates, Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud from the Kingdom of South Arabia and India’s Adille Sumariwalla.
Three women — Dutch national Sylvia Barlag, Abby Hoffman from Canada and Chinese Ximena Restrepo — will also be in contention.
Kenya is a powerhouse in athletics and deserves to sit on the “table of men” at the highest level.
The country needs to be present when important decisions are made in athletics.
Having been out in the cold since 2015 when the late former AK President Isaiah Kiplagat lost in his bid to become one of the vice presidents, decisions have been made in our absence and have in a way affected not only our athletes but Africa as a whole.
I believe if Tuwei is given the mandate at that level, and considering his knowledge, Africans is bound to fight for the continent’s rights.
Tuwei no doubt understands the sport and his election will ensure he articulates issues for Africa in a better way. Judging from his vision for Africa, I believe his election is the beginning for Africa to rely on Africans.
Like any other region, we also want to host top-class races in Africa and not just rely on Europe and other jurisdictions. Africa has the most and best runners in the world, yet we remain the poorest in terms of athletics resources.
I believe the growth of a region lies in the leadership and Tuwei has it all.
That Tuwei doubles up as the Sports Fund chairman and the Confederation of Africa Athletics Vice President speaks volumes of his management acumen.
Tuwei is also among the nine Africans and 40 contestants vying for 13 places as Council Members and we can only wish him the best of luck.
As a country, we need one of our own up there having suffered since 2015.