What you need to know:
- Head Kenya team trainer said to have been ordered to the DRC on Army duty
Coach Julius Kirwa will not be leading the Kenya team to Berlin for the 12th World Championships in Athletics.
The Athletics Kenya public relations officer Peter Angwenyi said Kirwa, a member of the armed forces, has been ordered to Kinshasa on official military duty from August 19.
Peter Mathu, his deputy in Beijing Olympics, will be in charge of the team. He will focus more on the marathon and long distance runners while he will be assisted by Joseph Chelimo, Sammy Rono and Penina Taalum.
Kirwa will, however, retain his title as the country top coach as was evident on Saturday during the New KCC National trials at Nyayo Stadium where he was fully involved team selection.
“I was also consulted over the technical bench staff. The people named to take over the team are good and while I will be away, I believe they will be able to fit into my shoes and deliver,” the 49 year old he said.
Though his absence raised questions especially from elite athletes, Kirwa on Sunday came out to clarify that he will be with the team throughout until they depart for the German capital.
Records to show
Kirwa backed his deputies to do a good good job. “They are good coaches and have records to show. We might add another coach Steven Mwaniki in the event the relay team qualifies,” he said.
Kirwa, first handled the cross country team to the 2002 championships in Dublin, Ireland and Lausanne, Switzerland but was replaced in 2004. He returned to take over Mike Kosgei. He has crafted two of Kenya’s most successful international athltics performances.
One was the 2007 world championships in Osaka (13 medals – five gold five silver and three bronze for second after the United States).
The other came last at the Beijing Olympics where Kenya won five gold, five silver and four bronze medals.
Kirwa was alo in charge of the Kenya team at the World Cross Country championships in Mombasa in 2007, Edinburgh, Scotland, the following year and Amman, Jordan last year.
Kirwa leads a group of nine coaches who have secured the IAAF coaching diplomas. Others are coach Joseph Ngure, Peter Mathu, Sammy Macharia, Veronica Owuor, Patrick Sang, David Lamai, Nahashon Akaranga and Steven Mwaniki.
Angwenyi said while Kirwa will be away, his position will not be filled and he will be liaising with the federation in a number of issues.
“We take this chance to laud him for his service. He was fully involved in the team selection to Berlin and before going away, he will provide technical and counselling to the team at Kasarani,” said Angwenyi.
Kirwa, an Armed Forces coach and Steven Mwaniki from Kenya Prisons, were seconded to AK from their respective institutions to help in the technical and coaching of young coaches and have been in charge of the team performances in major championship including world and Olympic Games.
Kirwa advised athletes to give the new coaches full support.
“They should sit down with the coaches and give them details of their form. They should be able to go through the programmes before training start and see where they need to improve or relax.
But understanding between the two parties must be cultivated,” he said.