Unqualified coaches, wayward athlete representatives warned
By Abel Abuga.
Athletics Kenya (AK) has put on notice unqualified coaches.
AK head coach Julius Kirwa said the federation and the coaches’ association will be sending an ethics form to all qualified coaches with the aim of thwarting rogue middlemen and rogue trainers who are invading the industry.
Kirwa sounded the warning as AK consultatives meeting entered its second day in Machakos County yesterday.
“It is unfortunate that there are individuals who are trying their luck in Kenya’s athletics grassroots and impeding the ambitions of many young runners,” said Kirwa.
“Unless we stand our ground, it will be a free-for-all situation. We have to protect the profession,” bemoaned Kirwa who said unscrupulous coaches were giving the rest a bad name.
While efforts are being made to regulate the chaotic coaching market, a tacit admission that a problem exists is the way forward with Kirwa adding that more coaching clinics will be introduced to help the good coaches.
“The role of a coach cannot not be underrated, so we have to ensure those that are doing their jobs well get the necessary certificates, knowledge and papers,” he noted.
This was one of the discussions on the table as athletes, coaches, officials and other stakeholders totaling 200 from the Southern region gathered at the Machakos County Hall to give their views on how to improve the sport.
Just as was the case in Ngong, Kajiado County, on Monday, the situation was not different in Machakos on Tuesday.
Age cheating, Team Kenya selection, sexual harassment, poor investment by athletes, doping, lack of training facilities, rogue coaches and agents, exploitative contracts, empowerment of coaches and gender-based violence were some of the issues that were discussed as athletes and coaches held separate sessions.
Former world silver medalist in 5,000m Caleb Ndiku was among the athletes that attended the session, terming it as a game changer in the sport.
Ndiku says to end gender-based violence and other forms of exploitation, there is a need to empower the athlete from a younger age.
The next host of the forums will be in Chuka in Tharaka Nithi county on today.
“Most of the athletes are from extremely poor backgrounds and can’t even afford a meal before training, so in such cases, they become vulnerable to exploitation,” he decried.
The Commonwealth Games gold medalist who endured a fair of injuries challenged the federation to show some concern to athletes whenever they are indisposed.
“I want to know what happened to David Rudisha, Alfred Kirwa and many more athletes. It is not fair to forget the champions whenever they have gone out injured or facing other challenges, just a simple word of concern goes a long way.”