Preparations let team down in Portland

Kenya secured only two bronze medals at the World Indoor Championships.

Thursday March 24 2016

The USA's Ajee Wilson and Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui compete during the 800 meters at the IAAF World Indoor athletics championships in Portland, Oregon on March 19, 2016. Kenya secured only two bronze medals at the event through Augustine Choge (3,000m) and Margaret Nyairera (800m), placing a poor 25th position overall. PHOTO | AFP

The USA's Ajee Wilson and Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui compete during the 800 meters at the IAAF World Indoor athletics championships in Portland, Oregon on March 19, 2016. Kenya secured only two bronze medals at the event through Augustine Choge (3,000m) and Margaret Nyairera (800m), placing a poor 25th position overall. PHOTO | AFP  

By BARNABAS KORIR
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I must admit our performance at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, United States of America was below expectations.

We must therefore think through the selection process and see how we can come up with a more competitive team.

Kenya secured only two bronze medals at the event through Augustine Choge (3,000m) and Margaret Nyairera (800m), placing a poor 25th position overall.

Tiny Burundi were fifth with a gold and silver - the first time they have toppled Kenya in any championships!

It seems our athletes do not take seriously the indoor competitions and few of them had made the qualification standards.

Athletics Kenya had limited options in picking the team, and worse still, the event comes immediately after cross country season making it quite tricky.

In other words, we tend to pick the runners according to the current form and ignore the cohesion aspect. For athletes to run together competitively in an event, they need time to gel and strategise.

The fact that some of these athletes only meet on the plane while going for the championship, makes the matter quite complicated.

NEW STRATEGY

Of course we have had good performance in the past, but this has basically depended on an athlete’s own initiative. This year’s preparations were a bit individualistic and that is why we need a new strategy next year including putting the athletes in camp.

However, we cant blame the runners much, considering that indoor games are not really a Kenyan thing. We really don’t have indoor stadiums and depend on our outdoor facilities to prepare the team.

In essence, this is not the same because other countries with such facilities have psychological edge.

For example, our outdoor track is 400m while the indoor circuit is 200m. For us to thrive in such scenarios, we need our own facilities with coaches who understand the whole idea of indoor games.

It is more like the difference between summer and winner Olympics. So the key words here are - facilities and commitment.

This is why we feel very bad as a sports fraternity when we are told that the earlier announced stadiums can not be put up. For us to enjoy the fruits of sports, we have to invest in the athletes.

Criticising the athletes when you have not invested in them is rather absurd.

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