Students joining Form One have the chance to be the next Olympians

NOC-K Elite Youth camp

Commonwealth 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala and two times Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri pose with junior athletes during the closing ceremony of NOC-K Elite Youth Camp at Merishaw School in Isinya, Kajiado County on January 18, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Most sport require that for a person to get the basic techniques right, they need to be introduced earlier on, so that tactics and skills can be taught later
  • Secondary schools have done a great job in moulding these young people into sportspersons
  • This year National Olympic Committee of Kenya will have Team Kenya participate in the continental and international youth games and it is from these schools where we expect to draw participants from

Congratulations to all the students selected to join Form One in the class of 2023!

When I joined Form One years ago, one of the most treasured items I was required to carry was a tennis racquet.

Most students in other schools as well were asked to carry a racquet or a hockey stick. Looking back, I must say it was a stroke of genius for laying foundation in sports. From that point, I was introduced to many other sports in the course of four years, but I focused on hockey and tennis.

While in school, there was  clear distinction between those who had been taught the sport early on, and  over 90 percent who started it in Form One. A simple check reveals that most people in Kenya are introduced to sports at this stage. That would be almost five to eight years late, depending on the sport.

Most sport require that for a person to get the basic techniques right, they need to be introduced earlier on, so that tactics and skills can be taught later. With this in mind, a simple act of having a robust programme in games in primary schools will transform our sports overnight.

Big opportunity

However, there is still a huge opportunity for those joining form one. An advantage is that given the right guidance, coaching and support they can be great athletes in four years. Secondary schools have done a great job in moulding these young people into sportspersons. It can lay a strong foundation for them as they move to senior levels.                                                                                                                              

Besides the competition aspects, the place of sport in schools is too important to be left to chance. It is an important part of the overall development of students. It is appreciated for its character building qualities and for promoting values of better health, physically and mentally, discipline and teamwork. Making it a worthy activity to occupy leisure time.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya shall collaborate with stakeholders in the schools arena, especially the Ministry of Education and Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association to give the best opportunity for our youngsters to develop their skills whilst they are in school. National Federations should also provide more aggressive school teachers training programs so as to provide highly skilled coaches.

Our encouragement to the more than one million candidates who are scheduled to join Form One is to bring that racquet, that hockey stick, that football boot, and pick up a sport of their choice, taking advantage of available sports facilities and the very passionate coaches in the schools.                       

This year National Olympic Committee of Kenya will have Team Kenya participate in the continental and international youth games and it is from these schools where we expect to draw participants from.

Joining form one now maybe just the first step towards being a future Olympian!

Mutuku is the Secretary General at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

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