Time running out for Club Games preps

Thursday September 7 2017

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon (right) celebrates after winning the women's 1500m race during the AG Insurance Memorial Van Damme athletics event, the last meeting of the IAAF Diamond League competition, on September 1, 2017 in Brussels. PHOTO | ERIC LALMAND |

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon (right) celebrates after winning the women's 1500m race during the AG Insurance Memorial Van Damme athletics event, the last meeting of the IAAF Diamond League competition, on September 1, 2017 in Brussels. PHOTO | ERIC LALMAND |  AFP

By BARNABAS KORIR
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Finally, I can sigh with relief after the National Olympic Committee of Kenya agreed to hold their elections on September 29.

I can only pray that this be the case as quite a lot is pending in the sporting circles due the stalemate that was brought about by Team Kenya scandal at 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. It is now almost one year since the Rio scam and nothing seems to moving. Coming from athletics, I guess we have been hit the hardest.

I am particularly worried about the Commonwealth Games, which will be coming early this time round. Unlike in the past when the games have been staged in August, this time the prestigious event is set for April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.

We had hoped that preparations for this event would come immediately after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but that has not been the case.

Truth be told, Commonwealth are not about one discipline but many and therefore, we needed  time to prepare. While athletics have had build-ups through the World Cross Country Championships in March and World athletics Championships, other disciplines have been left to struggle quite a bit.

And even athletics, we have not been at our best and we needed time to bond and review our recent performances. Like national coach Julius Kirwa put it, I am very worried about our future in the long distance events if the London performance is anything to go by.

The men’s 10,000 metres and 5000m especially has left us scratching our heads for solutions that seem not to be forthcoming.

The worse thing is that the few long distance athletes we have seem to be headed to road running hence we need to do something to replace them. In fact, the 10,000m race is a sacrifice for most runners as it is not even featured a lot on the Diamond League circuit especially with the advent of Television rights.

As a country, we need to come together and forge the way forward not only in athletics but also other disciplines. Really, what befell Kenya’s ‘Hit Squad’ that used to dominate boxing arenas? We were also a force to reckon with in swimming, especially at the Commonwealth Games level.

So what just went wrong? Whatever the case, we must find a way to improve on our 25 medals—10 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze from the last games in Glasgow, Scotland.

I can’t wait to see Nock back in business but unfortunately this can only be done through fresh polls. May the best candidates win.