Athletics Kenya (AK) has urged talented youths from across all counties to participate in athletics to increase the number of athletes who can participate in international competition in their region.
AK observed that some counties are lagging behind in producing athletes that can take part in competitions all over the world.
Addressing the media after a consultative meeting held at Chuka University in Tharaka Nithi County, AK Senior Vice President and Coordinator of Competitions, Paul Mutisya Mutwii, said that some regions such as Rift Valley are very strong in producing great runners whereas others like Eastern and Coastal can produce one or two athletes.
The AK Vice President revealed that they are going around regions gathering young talented athletes together with their officials and coaches to train them on how to participate in international races.
Mutwii said that the Eastern Region has great potential for producing great runners if they are supported to train physically and prepared mentally to compete in races.
“AK is gathering talented runners from schools to be coached to become international athletes,” he noted, adding that they have managed to train over 100 athletes in Tharaka Nithi County.
“In the next 5 years, we expect to see more people from different regions participating in sports all the way from national level to international level. We want to teach them ways they can become world runners,” he added.
The coordinator enlightened that athletics is a way of employment and a great source of income adding that if children are nurtured from a tender age they can become great world runners.
He emphasized on the importance of investing in athletics in all counties as it can boost the socio-economic status of the region.
Mutwii says they are also training athletes on money management to avoid misuse of funds when they receive a lump sum of money after winning marathon races which can be overwhelming.
“We have counsellors to train and enlighten our athletes especially the upcoming ones on money management,” he stated.
Speaking at the same time, Eastern Region AK Chairman, Ainsworth Kithinji Maragara, said they were addressing the challenges faced by athletes in the region.
He disclosed that they have experienced challenges from athletes who fail to show up for county competitions making it hard to identify them.
Maragara called upon talented athletes to participate in local races so they can be identified and nurtured to the next levels.
He echoed AK’s Vice President words that regions like Tharaka Nithi have the potential of producing great runners if they are managed and trained well.
“We identify those with talents from the teachers through school competitions, so we can nurture them to participate beyond county borders,” he said.
The Chairman called upon parents to nurture athletics talents of their children as it can be a great source of income to their families.
He appealed to the County Governments in the Eastern Region to support the athletes through provision of resources and working closely with AK.
By Sharon Gitau