Team Kenya athletes preparing for the sixth African Cross-Country Championships listen to team manager Ainsworth Maragara after a training session at St Mark Kigari Teachers Training college, Embu county on February 26, 2021.

| Charles Wanyoro | Nation Media Group

Officials soothe 'heartboken' Team Kenya in camp

What you need to know:

  • Meet was set for Togo on March 7
  • Event postponed owing to Covid-19 dampens athletes’ spirits in Embu

Team Kenya officials have moved to restore athletes’ morale at St Mark’s Kigari Teachers Training College in Embu, where they are camping, following the postponement of the sixth Africa Cross Country Championship that had been scheduled to be held in Lome, Togo on March 7.

Head coach Francis Kamau and team manager Kithinji Maragara spent several hours talking to the athletes who were demoralised after the event was put off because of Covid-19 health risks.

“If you had anticipated to travel and then the journey is postponed, you are definitely affected. But we are talking to them so that they don’t think that the event has been cancelled, it has just been postponed and will eventually happen. When one joins Team Kenya, you have passed through a lot of tests and are among the best,” said Kamau.

The coach said they are confident that Kenya will extend her dominance in athletics by emerging the best in Africa.

The junior runners were the most affected by the news, the team official said. However, after  a lengthy talk they took the turn of events in their stride. Thereafter, the team took part in light exercises from 4pm to some minutes after 5pm.

World Half Marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie said the postponement had broken the hearts of athletes at the camp, but they have agreed to keep training until another date for the competition is announced.

“When the report came on Thursday night, we thought it was a hoax. We were heartbroken but later on, we consoled ourselves because we believe God has many plans. We had prepared well since the weather is good and the camp is okay. We are ready for whatever eventualities even if the competition will be shifted to another country,” he said.

Men’s team captain Rogers Kwemoi said they have overcome the initial heartbreak and are raring to go.

“We will continue exercising unless we are told that the event has been cancelled. Everyone is in good condition and we will not give up,” said Kwemoi who trains at Global Sport Communication camp in Kaptagat.

Kwemoi, Kandie and Sheila Chelagat were allowed to attend the AK Track and Field Meeting at Nyayo National Stadium this weekend.