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KORIR: Accelerated stadium works is music to my ears

Wednesday July 22 2020
noor_pix

Sports Ministry's Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor (left), Kericho County Governor Paul Chepkwony (second left) and Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei (second right) walk on the track of the newly refurbished Kericho Green stadium on July, 20, 2020.PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Barnaba Korir

I am loving the latest wave of construction and renovation of stadiums across the country.

The competition between counties to have at least a stadium of their own seems to be bearing fruit, thanks to the extra push from the Ministry of Sports under the guidance of the Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohamed.

The feeling is good considering that in the previous years, we in sports circles have suffered a great deal due to lack of proper venues around the country.

Nairobi especially, despite having two of the biggest stadiums in the country, has been under lockdown for the last three years, owing to renovations of the facilities.

But as for now, things are opening up and we can’t wait to be done with this Covid-19 crisis to return to normalcy.

From Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega to Kapsabet, Kip Keino in Eldoret, Kamariny in Iten, Narok, Kinoru in Meru, Isiolo and Mombasa, among many others, things are looking up.

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Whether being built for political reasons or competition, I am happy with it because the beneficiary at the end of the day will be the athlete.

I must note that the Ministry of Sports officials, led by CS Amina and PS Joe Okudo, have been out there for the last six months just to ensure work is in progress.

A committee to oversee the facilities is also in place and I can confidently say that there is a proper wave of change in the sector. But as we wait anxiously for the completion of the facilities, It’s important for me to note that a few things have to be done right.

For a stadium to measure up to international standards, we must get the measurements of every discipline right.

This is why it will be important for counties to consult with respective federations when putting up such facilities. I am sure federations are ready to co-operate considering this is to their benefit.

Lately, we have seen stadiums coming up only to realise that the measurements are not right.

The problem with counties is that they do everything with football in mind, forgetting the other sporting disciplines including track and field.

To get value for their money, the counties need to strive to put up multipurpose facilities hence the need for proper measurements.

And I am not just talking about athletics (track and field). This applies to basketball, handball, tennis and rugby, among other sports.

Besides, stadiums being built should be able to reflect the investment.

We need not to build sub-standards facilities and purport to be serving sportsmen.

Otherwise kudos to the counties that have already taken up the challenge of building their own facilities.

Korir is the chairman of Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi branch. [email protected]

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