What you need to know:
- Due to the foregoing, international age-grade competitions are the way to go insofar as youth development in sports is concerned.
- This is a tried and tested formula elsewhere and if Kenya persists in the same then we will reap the fruits in due time.
It is common knowledge that the youth are the bane of any society upon which its development in the present and future hinges.
Even the Bible says in the book of Proverbs 20:29 that the glory of young men is in their youth.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon society to provide its youth with conditions that enable them to fulfill their potential and reap the fruits of their God-given talents.
The sports industry is one of the key areas in which the youth have excelled and brought glory to society.
However, this success depends on a long-term plan of nurturing them from the onset and refining them into finished products.
One of the ways of doing this is by providing young talents with opportunities to compete at the highest levels at an early age.
I am of the opinion that one of the successes of Kenyan sports in 2023 has been the increased participation of national junior teams in international assignments.
Earlier this week, Team Kenya departed for Trinidad and Tobago where the Commonwealth Youth Games will be held from August 4 to11. This comes hot on the heels of the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy that concluded on Sunday, with Kenya finishing sixth.
Presently, the national under 23 basketball 3x3 men and women's teams are participating in the Fiba Under 23 Nations League in Algeria.
Last week also saw the national under-19 cricket team participate in the 2024 World Cup qualifiers in Tanzania where they came second to Namibia.
These are just but some of the age-grade international competitions that Kenya has participated in this year.
In athletics, we had the East Africa Regional Championships in Tanzania, followed by the Africa Under 18 and Under 20 Championships in Zambia.
Such competitions introduce these youngsters to the international stage at an early age and mentally prepare them to handle the pressure of future assignments of that magnitude.
They are also opportunities for them to shape their worldview and acquire more ideas on how to improve themselves through interactions with people from other countries.
Also, showcasing their talent on a world stage provides them with a chance to attract the eye of scouts or brands that may want to work with them.
Due to the foregoing, international age-grade competitions are the way to go insofar as youth development in sports is concerned.
This is a tried and tested formula elsewhere and if Kenya persists in the same then we will reap the fruits in due time.
Korir is the chairman of Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi Branch.