Athletics Kenya Masters Athletes have been urged to continue training even after the Athletics World Masters games scheduled for July 2021 in Kansai Japan were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Athletics Kenya Masters second Chairperson Sammy Ruto aka Skylap called on the runners not to lose hope despite the pandemic that negatively impacted sports globally.
Addressing the media at Makutano Stadium in Kapenguria Town, Ruto said games were postponed due to severe restrictions on participants to combat coronavirus.
He reiterated that veteran athletes need to remain healthy and called on those in the Police, Prisons and KDF to continue with their training in readiness for anytime in case the championship is to be held.
Skylap who represented Kenya in the 800 meters race during the World Junior games in Kingston Jamaica in 1982 winning a gold medal, clarified that Athletics Kenya Masters should not be confused with Athletics Kenya (AK).
“Many people don’t understand between the two. Athletics Kenya Masters is for retired athletes. Athletics Kenya Masters area seniors,” he explained.
Ruto who is the Athletics Kenya Masters Coordinator in the North Rift region added that Athletics Kenya Masters is a class of the sport of athletics for veteran athletes in track and field, road running and cross-country running.
“The competitions feature five-year age groups beginning at age 35. Men as old as 105 and women in their 100s have competed in running, jumping, javelin and discus,” he said.
Skylap hinted that runners will be chosen to participate in the games in case the pandemic subsides.
“We need to safeguard the health of the runners. Veterans use a lot of energy when running with youngsters and that is why it was created. The winners are awarded like other runners,” said Skylap.
He said that the Masters/Veteran Athletic were mainly roadrunners adding that World Masters Athletics (WMA) is the worldwide governing body for Masters Athletics.
“It provides a global standard of rule modifications (based upon the international rules for the sport created by the IAAF) for athletes of a certain age. Each country governs its own affairs with an organisational governing body that is an affiliate to WMA,” Ruto said.
He noted that IAAF came with the World Youth Games and after five years it came up with runners between the age of 12-14, Juniors between the 15-19 years and Senior Athletics of between the age of 20-34 years.
“The first race was held in 1965 in Sweden, world masters, 1967 after 14 years the games came to Africa and first hosted in Algeria-Morocco. In 2018 Kenya participated in Malaga Spain games where we won a lot of gold medals,” he said.
Ruto who accompanied the runners to Tunisia in 2019 during 12th African games maintained that veteran runners should remain fit by continuing with practice noting that the 13th African games was to be held in Nairobi which was pushed to October, 2021.
By Richard Muhambe