Central Kenya schools told to embrace athletics

Monday, August 31st, 2020 00:00 |
Central region athletics officials and coaches. Photo/PD/David Macharia

David Macharia

Schools have been identified as the weak link in an effort to make Central Kenya region an athletics powerhouse again.

In the past, the region produced runners who made it to national teams and went on to win medals at top international competitions.

Athletes like Samuel Kamau Wanjiru who won Kenya’s first Olympic men’s marathon gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Julius Kariuki, the 1988 Seoul Olympic 3,000m steeplechase gold medalist, and John Ngugi, the five-time world cross country champion count as the region’s pride.

Others are Douglas Wakihuri, the 1987 world marathon champion, Catherine Ndereba, the two-time world marathon champion, Eric Wainaina, bronze and silver medalist in marathon at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics respectively.

 But today, the region only has a handful of runners competing at the international level. 

Holiday camps

David Miano, Athletics Kenya regional chairman, says runners who went on to conquer the international stage were spotted in school competitions and before being nurtured to elite athletes.

Miano said there is a need to engage schools in the region so that they can revive passion for athletics.

 He spoke when he met athletics coaches based in Nyahururu at the weekend. 

Coaches present said they were finding it difficult to train talented students during school holidays because school administrators are always opposed.

“We need to visit these schools and sensitise the teachers that athletics is equally important for a student’s overall development,” said Miano, adding that AK is  ready to officially write to the schools asking for students to be allowed to attend holiday camps.

World Under-18 5,000m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka is a product of school holiday athletics training camp.

Central Region Athletics Kenya first vice-chairman Erastus Kabugi said few teachers attend officiating courses organised by the federation in the region.

 The coaches gave their opinion on what is ailing athletics in the region and how the situation can be salvaged. 

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