Right to Play through Under 18 IAAF Championship

By Kevin Anyonge

Participation of children in activities is very vital in the society as it helps them develop physically, mentally and psychological and learn different cultures. According to Article 31 of the United Nation Convention of the Rights of the Child, states that the child has a right to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities.

Play is important in many ways, that’s why the convention recognized it as a right of the child, play is beneficial to a child in the following ways; Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. It is important to healthy brain development.  Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.

In contrast to passive entertainment, play builds active, healthy bodies. In fact, it has been suggested that encouraging unstructured play may be an exceptional way to increase physical activity levels in children, which is one important strategy in the resolution of the obesity epidemic. Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of  childhood.


The international Amateur Athletic Federation was founded in 1912 by 17 national athletic federations who saw the need for a governing authority, for an athletic program for standardized technical equipment and world records.

The IAAF World U18 Championships is a global athletics event comprising track and field events was first held in 1999. It gives opportunity for 17 year old or younger to participate in competitive athletics.

Kenya is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to host the IAAF world UI8 Championships. This year’s 10th edition of the World under 18 year championship is currently taking place at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani Stadium after the last event being held in Cali, Columbia in 2015.The championship has attracted over 2000 participants from 159 countries.

The event is as a pillar of social interaction to our children as they meet and make new friends from other countries as they participate in the event, with this in place we can evaluate it well with the Sustainable Development  Goal (SDGs) of to promote just peaceful and inclusive societies and reduce inequality within and among countries.

With this championship here in Kenya it helps achieve the SDGs by ensuring peace and inequality is reduced, so that racial discrimination will be endangered as children will see and view each other as one for peaceful coexistence.

The rights of the child is being fulfilled with this championship events, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to development rights children have been able to explore their skills by engaging in the different field a and track events to build and develop talent. We hope IAAF will continue strengthening child participation in competitive athletics after winding up the under 18 championship.

Kevin is a journalist with Mtoto News

Mtoto News is an online platform of news, information and resources that aims at making significant change in the lives of children by making them visible. Read mtotonews.com  or follow us on twitter and Facebook @mtotonews


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Photos by the star newspaper

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