Speech by H.E. Amb. Liu Xianfa at the See-off Reception for the Kenyan Delegation to Participate in the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China
(August 7, 2014. Chinese Embassy in Kenya)

Honorable guests,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honor to host this See-off Reception for the Kenyan delegation to participate in the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Nanjing, China from August 16 to 28 this year, dubbed “Nanjing 2014”. I wish to take this special opportunity to wish you young and budding Kenyan athletes every success in your competitions and a splendid time at Nanjing 2014.

Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province in the east coast of China, is a beautiful city with colourful culture and magnificent history, with 10 ancient Chinese dynasties once established their capital city here. Being the host of the YOG has brought vigor to this ancient city, making it the second Olympic city in China after Beijing.

Nanjing’s global promotional campaign elaborates the concept of “Share the Games, Share our dreams to the international community”. Under the guidance of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, Nanjing promises to offer not only a sporting event for youth from various countries, but also a cultural event for them to cement their friendships through sports. Nanjing 2014 has promised to combine traditional Chinese culture with the green concept, exposing the participants to modern trends in sports, healthy living, green development and ancient history.

Moreover, Nanjing bears an important historical significance to China-Kenya historical relations. The famous Chinese navigator, Zheng He, who visited the Kenyan coast of Malindi almost 600 years in his voyages, establishing friendship with the local people, set sail from Longjiang port in Nanjing.

For you young participants, Nanjing 2014 offers you a grand opportunity to introduce yourselves to the world, to learn from legends and also open your eyes to the world. As one Kenyan born legend, Wilson Kipketer said, “the youth Olympics is a time for young athletes to learn, get used to everything”, He said. “The games are a platform for them to plan for the future. For most of you who specialize in long distance running, you can use this opportunity to learn about other sports and appreciate the diversity that exists at the Olympics. Moreover, you will discover other cultures, learn vital skills in your sporting careers and become true ambassadors of your sport.”

I sincerely hope Nanjing 2014 is the beginning of greater cooperation in sports between our two countries, especially for young Olympians. We are both powerhouses in the Olympics and as such, there is a great potential in Kenya-China cooperation in sports. Although China has long been associated with the martial arts, sports in China today consists of a variety of competitive sports that have won us a lot of medals in the Olympic Games. For instance China led the gold medal count at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where Kenya also emerged as one of the best countries with a total of 14 medals, among them 5 are gold. ranking No.1 in African countries.

As we all know with admiration that Kenya has been thriving in the track and field events producing a number of champions and world record holders. In Daegue 2011 World Track and Field Championships, Kenya was ranked No.3 in the medal list immediately after the USA and Russia. Many Olympic legends come from Kenya. They include Kipchoge Keino, David Rudisha, Ezekiel Kemboi, and Pamela Jelimo among many others. Besides, Kenya is also good at rugby, boxing, hockey, volleyball etc, making it a powerhouse in African and international sports arenas.

I believe that Kenya can do even better if it diversified into other areas and increase its medal tally. China can offer help from our side of the development of sports in the areas of table tennis, gymnastics, badminton and some other sports of interest to Kenyans. I was glad to see that Kenya won gold for javelin for the first time in history at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. This is a clear indication that there is talent for other sports and with proper training and development. Kenyan athletes can thrive in various other sports.

Dear young athletes, ladies and gentlemen,

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to China-Kenya relations. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations more than half a century ago, our traditional friendship has remained unshakable and become even firmer with time. In more than half a year I have worked in Kenya, I have felt by heart that, against the background of closer and closer China-Kenya friendship is growing, and the common interests between our two countries are widening. Moreover, cultural exchanges and people to people understanding has never been as important as in this age of globalization. We will do our best to ensure our cooperation yields fruits for both of our people.

Finally, I once again wish you Kenyan young athletes a great success in Nanjing 2014. I also wish you can learn more about China and become friendship ambassadors between our two great nations!

Thank you!

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