What you need to know:
- Also integral to the sprouting of talented field athletes is access to modern training facilities to put them at par with their peers in developed countries.
- We will be exploring various ways of providing these athletes with world-class facilities and training, including partnerships with other federations and athletics clubs.
When Kenya and athletics are mentioned in the same sentence, the first picture that comes to mind is long-distance races.
Our reputation as the kings and queens of middle and long-distance athletics began as far back as 1964 when Wilson Kiprugut won bronze in the men’s 800m at Tokyo Olympics.
In the past two years, the country has also shown it is a hotbed of sprinters thanks to the exploits of Ferdinand Omanyala, the Commonwealth and African 100m champion.
Other sprinters, such as Dan Kiviasi, Samuel Imeta, Mike Mokamba, William Rayan and Wiseman Were have emerged to post impressive results on the international stage.
Not forgetting, Damaris Mutunga, who was the only sprinter to win a medal at the World Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Entering a new dispensation, the next frontier for Kenya’s dominance in athletics will be the field events.
This season has been a year of firsts as Winnie Chepngetich made history as the first Kenyan to represent the country in a field event (long jump) at the Under-20 level.
Although she did not make it to the final round, she fought admirably on the same platform with experienced, superior athletes showing that we have a lot more to offer in terms of field athletes.
Compared to her competitors, Chepngetich did not have had the privilege to train for longer periods or use modern facilities.
With much more investment in her training, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for this junior athlete.
It does not stop there. One of our core objectives as Athletics Kenya, going forward, is to unearth as many Chepngetichs as possible in field events.
As the chair of AK’s youth development sub-committee, our immediate task has been to evaluate our performance in Cali to identify ways in which we can improve in subsequent competitions and in all categories, including field events.
Part of our activities in the coming year is to scout every corner of this country to identify and nurture talents in the discus, javelin, pole vault, long jump, triple jump and high jump, among others.
Of course, this is a multi-sectoral affair that will entail partnerships with corporates, the government – via the ministries of sports and education— and parents.
Also integral to the sprouting of talented field athletes is access to modern training facilities to put them at par with their peers in developed countries.
We will be exploring various ways of providing these athletes with world-class facilities and training, including partnerships with other federations and athletics clubs.