Athletes reflect on super congested 2022 international season

Wednesday May 13 2020
By AYUMBA AYODI

Will it be possible to double or not?

That is the question that has seen both coaches and athletes going into spin with the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games falling in the same period in 2022.

This state of affairs could now force Athletics Kenya to name separate teams in most events for the two world competitions.

On Wednesday, World Athletics announced that the World Championships that had been postponed from this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic will now be staged from July 15 to 24 in Oregon, United States.

The 22nd Commonwealth Games will take place from July 27 to August 7 in Birmingham, England.

World Athletics postponed the World Championships that were to originally take place in July next year in Oregon after the International Olympic Committee rescheduled the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games from July 24-August 9 to July 23-August 8, 2021.

Renowned athletics coach Bernard Ouma and elite athletes, World and Commonwealth 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, 2015 World javelin champion Julius Yego and 2016 Rio Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich expressed different opinion after the changes.

Ouma said it will be difficult for athletes especially in middle and long distances races to double especially with fatigue creeping while Yego, the 2014 Commonwealth javelin champion, noted that top elite athlete are likely to choose the World Championships over the Commonwealth Games.

Chepng’etich, who won the World 1,500m title in 2017 London before settling for silver in 2019 Doha, said that it will difficult for someone to double with health and form key factors.

Obiri, the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, who retained her World title in Doha last year also said it would be difficult for someone to double considering there was also the Diamond League and World Continental Tour events.

“Commonwealth Games will take two weeks hence it will take an excellent athlete to double. Actually, doubling will not be the best option since. It could be a costly gamble,” said Ouma.