Ire greets move turning stadium into grocery turf
After closing the Nyahururu stadium to bar gathering of sports persons for fear of coronavirus infections, Laikipia County government has reopened the facility to be used as a grocery market.
At the weekend, the County government relocated some traders from the Nyahururu open air market to the stadium in an effort geared at reducing chances of the vendors to contact coronavirus.
Nyahururu town’s two markets experience increased human traffic especially during Tuesday and Friday market days, hence the need to decongest them according to County officials.
The human traffic and the already congested at the existing markets has been a challenge to the government’s directive for people to observe social distance and also avoid crowded places to reduce the spread of the deadly virus.
Sporting fraternity in the region had expected the County to take advantage of the closure to renovate the facility, but are now in shock after the latest developments.
The famous stadium holds pride in having produced many athletics giants who ended up shattering world records and won medals for Kenya.
Unfortunately the bragging rights are seriously dented by the current poor state of the facility which stands at 2,300 metres above sea level. It boasts of having hosted the national team that brought nine medals – three gold, four silver and two bronze, from the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico as well as track world beaters like Moses Kiptanui, Daniel Komen, John Ngugi, Samuel Kamau Wanjiru and Joseph Ebuya. The list is endless.
After camping in Nyahururu, the 1968 Olympic Games team won three gold medals through Kipchoge Keino (1500m), Naftali Temu (10,000m) and Amos Biwott, 3000m steeple chase. Silver medals were won by Wilson Kiprugut (800m) Kipchoge (5000m) Benjamin Kogo (3000m steeple chase) and the 4X400 team of Daniel Rudisha, Charles Asati, Naftali Bon and Maiyoro Nyamau.
Temu and Philip Waruinge won bronze in 5000m and boxing respectively in the same Games. The dilapidated stadium, which sits on 10 acres, has six volleyball pitches, a netball pitch, two football pitches and a basketball court that is full of potholes.
Lawrence Miano who managed the stadium during the time of the defunct Nyahururu municipal council says the stadium’s initial size was 11 acres but part of the land on the front side of the facility was grabbed by the then town fathers.
The stadium’s athletics track is in deplorable condition that inhibits runners from using it when it rains.
The County government of Laikipia has failed to take action despite the matter being raised in various forums including recently when a taskforce appointed by Governor Ndiritu Muriithi to look into conditions of sports facilities held its sitting in Nyahururu.
For 10 years now, the 3000 metres steeplechase water jump has not been used during competitions because the hole does not hold water and the water jump barrier is dangerously worn out.
The changing rooms made of iron sheets have not seen a coat of paint for over 30 years while those made of timber are falling apart due to lack of maintenance.
Miano said the last time the stadium received tangible renovation was in 1992 and 1997 when it twice hosted the then Kenya Inter Municipality Sports and Cultural Association (KIMSCA).