Athletics Kenya (AK) Kericho branch has urged the county government to join the agency in the creation of athletic camps to nurture athletics talent in the wake of Kenya’s performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
In an interview with KNA on Tuesday during a training session for athletes at Gariete Athletics Training Camp in Kericho, AK Kericho County Vice-Chair Gabriel Kiptanui urged the county government to support athletes and avail the necessary sporting facilities and equipment for budding and seasoned athletes to excel in their careers.
“We are appealing to the County government of Kericho to work closely with AK towards this by establishing training camps and improve training grounds in addition to providing equipment for our athletes in the area who are about 150 in number. As coaches we are always ready to train and advise them on what is needed for them to win. By doing this the county will produce many track stars who will conquer the world of athletics and enhance the country’s medal tally during Olympics,” Kiptanui said.
Kiptanui who doubles up as an athletics coach and trains more than 40 athletes said the region has great potential for producing great runners if they are supported to train physically and have mental preparedness to compete in races.
“Athletes deserve to be supported because when they excel in their careers, they come back and invest in their counties a move that brings in revenue. The training camps are grounds for nurturing athletic talents, training and development.” he added.
He called on athletes to practice self-discipline and remain focused in order to perform well in future sporting events by following the footsteps of other great athletes.
“Those who want shortcuts use drugs but they need to be conscious of their actions that lead to destruction of their names, careers and even bring bad reputation on their countries. Practice clean sport and you will always be shinning at the top,” Kiptanui said.
Africa Junior women 2016 Cross-Country Champion Miriam Cherop who competes internationally for Kenya concurred with the coach’s sentiments urging the county government to take care of athletes’ welfare and training for them to hone their skills.
During the training session about 30 experienced athletes met at the stadium to horn their skills ahead of various championships across the world notably the Commonwealth games, World Athletics Cross Country and Kenya Cross Country all slated for next year.
Runners in Kiptanui’s stable include; female long distance runner and 2015 Steeplechase World Champion Sheila Chelangat, 2019 silver medalist 2019 World U20 in Tampere, Finland Kipchoge Ngeno, 2013 World U18 1,500m Steeplechase gold medalist Robert Biwott, Mercy Cherono who broke World Youth record in Women’s 3000m in 2007 in Ostrava, Czech Republic and the reigning world 3,000 steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.
By Sarah Njagi