Crowded calendar leaves AK, athletes with tough choices

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 00:00 |
Elijah Manangoi on his way to winning the men’s 1,500m race during the 2019 National Police Service Championships. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Athletics Kenya (AK) boss Jackson Tuwei says the federation will engage all stakeholders to come up with the best possible programme in the interest of athletes ahead of a busy athletics calendar that will run from 2012 to 2024. 

Postponement of the global events scheduled for this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a crowded 2021 season and back-to-back World Athletics Championships in 2022 and 2023, sparking fears of athlete burnout.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics moved by a year to July next year, the World Athletics Championship slated for 2021 has had to be pushed by a year while the 2023 event remains as scheduled.

The World Indoor Games slated for March this year have also been moved to March next year, around the same time the biennial World Cross Country Championships is set to be held.

“This is an unfortunate turn of events. It has affected the preparation calendar for these global events which is the most important time for any athlete.

This, therefore, calls for continued engagement and consultations with all stakeholders as this is a challenge for everyone involved,” said Tuwei.

In addition to the global championships, continental and local events, city marathons and diamond leagues have also been effected.

The AK boss says all events set to be rescheduled will need to be planned with consideration to athletes, adding that the federation will gauge and programme local ones around the World Athletics calendar.  

“We would like our athletes to have the best preparation for these events.  We will continue to engage them, their coaches and other technical people so that Kenya can field the best teams to these events.

To avoid burnout, athletes will also have to choose which events to compete in both globally and continentally,” Tuwei said.  

Athletes are also preparing for the changes with former 1,500m world champion Elijah Manangoi, who has since recovered from an injury that kept him away from his title defence at the Doha World Championships last year, saying they have accepted the situation.

“I was ready to test myself with the Diamond League opener in Qatar this April as part of my preparations for an Olympic medal.

The cancellation of some of the diamond league events has not dampened my spirits though as I continue with training in the hope that a few of the series, slated for later this year, can still take place as that will help me gauge myself,” said Manangoi.

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