What you need to know:
- There is need to urgently regroup and cast our net wider in as far as medals are concerned.
- Over-reliance on athletics is no longer feasible as the rest of the world is fast catching up with us if the performances in Birmingham and Oregon are anything to go by.
Kenya finished 13th on the medal table at the recently concluded Birmingham Commonwealth Games with a tally of six gold, five silver and 10 bronze. The performance placed us third in the continent.
All but one of the 21 medals predictably came from athletics with para power-lifter Hellen Wawira (bronze) being the only medallist outside Kenya’s most successful sport. In fact, only Julius Yego (bronze in javelin throw) returned a medal outside the track as Kenya’s over-reliance on track action and marathon races for a medal once again rose to the fore.
It’s a worrying statistic with approximately two years to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Kenya had 127 athletes in Birmingham positioned for medals in athletics, swimming and boxing.
The remaining 18 disciplines turned out to be just for participation and exposure.
Swimming and boxing that previously earned Kenya medals fell below expectations with major lessons coming through after the two disciplines presented lean teams.
The once dreaded “Hit Squad” punched below its weight with Nick “Commander” Okoth setting the pace with a first round exit.
Kenya’s women hockey team had an outing to forget and the Birmingham experience was a stark reminder of how far behind Kenya is lagging in as far as team sport disciplines are concerned.
Beach volleyball team of Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Agala, fresh from the World Championships, failed to make it to the quarter-finals finishing ninth.
The pair has gained enough experience from last year’s Olympics in Tokyo and should now be ripe for a better display in Paris if they qualify.
Kenya’s performance on the track made for encouraging reading after a dismal performance at the World Championships in Oregon, USA.
Ferdinand Omanyala added another major championship to his growing resume but our struggles in the 1,500m and steeplechase are a major point of concern.
The sight of a gasping Timothy Cheruiyot losing to Australia’s Ollie Hoare at the finish line almost looked like a horror movie for Kenyan fans back home.
But it was another timely reminder that Kenya is losing its grip on middle distance races just a fortnight after Jake Wightman claimed the world title in Oregon.
The World Championships and Commonwealth Games have been an eye opener and it’s my hope that National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) has taken note of our performance.
There is need to urgently regroup and cast our net wider in as far as medals are concerned.
Over-reliance on athletics is no longer feasible as the rest of the world is fast catching up with us if the performances in Birmingham and Oregon are anything to go by.