Kirui turns to farming as coronavirus bites

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 00:00 |
World Junior 3,000m steeplechase champion Amos Kirui tending to his potato farm in Keringet, Nakuru county at the weekend. Photo/PD/ERICSON KIPRONO

Ericson Kiprono

While the global sporting world has been thrown into disarray following the continued spread of the coronavirus, Kenyan sport has not been spared either especially after the first case was confirmed in the country in March.

With no sporting activities, many Kenyan athletes have now resorted to farming to cushion themselves from the effects of the virus while also killing boredom. 

World Junior 3,000m steeplechase champion Amos Kirui is one of those who have been busy tending to their farms as his three-acre potato farm in Keringet, Nakuru County keeps him busy. 

Kirui ventured fully into potato farming in 2017 and sought advice from agricultural extension officers on land preparation, seeds and management of the crop.

He acquired original seeds from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and has been involving Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) in the production system to ensure  seeds are free from diseases.

“I engage experts in every stage of production, from where to plant the seeds, the type of seeds, weeding and harvesting among other agronomical practices,” said Kirui, who has been grows Dutch, Kenya Karibu, Tigoni and Sangi potato varieties.

“Sangi sprouts faster, takes a short time to cook and it is also tasty compared to other potato types. Many farmers grow it because it has high demand,” Kirui told People Sport at his farm at the weekend.

But while he keeps himself busy in the farm, he is not happy at the pandemic, like all athletes, disrupted his schedule.

He was due to participate in the Diamond League as part of his build-up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before it was postponed.

Kirui stunned North Rift runners after beating a star-studded field that included World Cross-Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor to win the senior men’s 10km race in the National Cross-Country Championships at Eldoret Sports Club last year.

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