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Covid-19 pandemic contributing to dismal Olympics performance

Former athletes have attributed the dismal performance of Kenyans in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tecla Chemakwai a former athlete from Keiyo South constituency in Elgeyo Marakwet County said the advent of the pandemic has led to most Kenyan athletes registering low performance in the 2020 Olympics where Kenya has so far registered eight medals with three Gold ,three  silver and two bronze medals.

The two time Olympic participant of 1968 and 1972 says limited opportunity to do exercises during the last one year before the Olympics was a major contributor.

However, she says that the Olympics 2020 was unique because Kenya registered national records in the sprint which has previously been dominated by other countries but lost in the long races like the 3000m Steeplechase which has been dominated by Kenyans since 1980.

“Athletes did not get enough time to brush their skills and perform well in the Olympics as for an athlete to win they have to take their time to test their skills with other Athletes,” she said.

She added that the closure of training camps during the pandemic as part of the containment measures by the government affected training.

Tecla said that for an athlete to perform well they have to train with other athletes to test their strength which was not the case during the pandemic since most of them were forced to retreat to their homes and train solely.

She however said that all was not lost saying athletes should adapt to the current situation and prepare well for future competitions.

Leah Malot, a former athlete who is also a nominated Member of County Assembly says that self-discipline is key to performing well in athletics.

She noted that the Covid-19 pandemic affected most of the sectors of the economy and athletics was not left out.

Malot 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.

Malot won a gold medal at the All Africa Games in 1987 held in Nairobi aged only 15 years old.

By Walter Kibet and Alice Wanjiru

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