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Pace of Bomet Stadium works offers hope

Sunday August 18 2019

A view of Bomet County Stadium in Bomet County as at August 7, 2019. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

A view of Bomet County Stadium in Bomet County as at August 7, 2019. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

BERNARD ROTICH
By BERNARD ROTICH
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VITALIS KIMUTAI
By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Our next stop is South Rift and Bomet Stadium which is under construction at the outskirts of the town.

The county is still coming to terms with losing their governor Joyce Laboso who was laid to rest two weeks ago.

Laboso had sports at her heart and even organised a race, which was used to raise funds to support universal healthcare at Kaptengecha in Konoin.

Unbeknownst to many, a number of big names in athletics are from Bomet county including William Sigei, who caused quite a stir in athletics when he ran bare feet and beat world record holder Paul Ngugi.

Others include former 5,000 metres Commonwealth Games Champion Mercy Cherono, 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, former 3,000m steeplechase Diamond League champion Paul Kipsiele Koech, just to mention a few.

Some of the athletes have relocated to the neighbouring counties for lack of good training facilities but things might change soon if what the county government promised happens.

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And as you walk down to the stadium from the county headquarters, you notice there is some work going on.

Nicholas Kerich (right), Chief officer for Youth and Sports in Bomet County and other officers talks to a worker (second right), doing construction of Bomet County Stadium in Bomet County on August 7, 2019. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nicholas Kerich (right), Chief officer for Youth and Sports in Bomet County and other officers talks to a worker (second right), doing construction of Bomet County Stadium in Bomet County on August 7, 2019. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The 30,000-seater new Bomet Stadium funded by the county government which has so far pumped more than Sh330 million, is expected to be complete in the next two years.

The project was initiated by former Governor Isaac Ruto four years ago and picked up by the late governor Laboso’s administration which has allocated Sh 257 million. It is now expected to be completed under the leadership of Hillary Barchok who took over the reins a week ago.

Ruto’s administration had used labour-based contracts to construct the stadium but after an assessment was done by the National Construction Authority (NCA) in 2018, a contractor was awarded tender to complete the facility.

“After an assessment and tests carried out, the main pavilion and part of the terraces were found to be structurally weak and are set to be demolished and reconstructed under the current contract,” said Nicholas Kerich, the Chief Officer in charge of Youths and Sports department.

A football pitch at Bomet County Stadium on August 07, 2019. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A football pitch at Bomet County Stadium on August 07, 2019. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A report released by the Material Testing and Research Division at the Kisii regional laboratory in the Ministry of Infrastructure of the national government recommended the demolition and reconstruction of part of the stadium.

A redesign to allow for what was not initially factored in for a modern stadium had been effected with the National Construction Authority (NCA) report indicating that Ruto’s administration had effected 40 per cent of the works.

Storm water drainages would also be factored into the structural redesigns that have been approved by the devolved government unit.

“A VIP holding room, restaurant, a youth empowerment centre and indoor games, football, athletics, track and field events and other indoor games will be played at the stadium when it is completed,” said Kerich.

A pavilion at Bomet County Stadium on August 7, 2019, which is supposed to be brought down for proper reconstruction. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A pavilion at Bomet County Stadium on August 7, 2019, which is supposed to be brought down for proper reconstruction. The project is being done by the county government. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Setting up the stadium was quite an enormous task as the black cotton soil had to be excavated. Kipng’eno Chelule, who oversaw the initial planning and construction of the stadium said the red soil had to be put used to backfill the entire stadium to ensure stability as black cotton soil is loose.

“It was a tedious exercise as we also had to plant Kikuyu grass, nurture it to grow with it being watered and weeds plucked quiet often,” said Chelule.

Apart from the main stadium, other playgrounds in various primary schools including Mokonchet, Chepngaina, Tegat, Chebirbelek have been levelled by the county government.

“As a long-term solution, we plan as a department to level and mark the track to IAAF standards at least two schools in each of the 25 wards so as to enable athletes to compete within the international standards in terms of measurements,” said Kerich.

Tomorrow: Focus on Kericho Green Stadium in Kericho County.

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