Kenya will not improve in sports without robust funding and preparations in all the disciplines in the country, National Olympic Committee Of Kenya president (Nock) Paul Tergat said on Monday.
Tergat noted that Kenya's medal tally at major sporting extravaganza like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games won't improve if the country continues to rely on athletics only.
"As a sporting nation, we need to invest more in preparations and robust programmes across the board," said Tergat, adding that the current scenario where it's more of individual effort must change.
Tergat said they will engage the government on how sports will have sustainable funding through the introduction of a sports lottery as constituted in the Sports Act.
Tergat was speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) upon arrival with the second batch of athletes from the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Among those also to arrive in a contingent of 23 athletes and officials were Christine Ongare, who was the only medallist in boxing, having won bronze in flyweight and Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei.
The contingent that arrived at 6.05am aboard Kenya Airways plane from Bangkok, Thailand included boxers, cyclists and weightlifters.
"Sports must have a proper budget from the government if we are to develop as a country. Most countries perform better than Kenya in these major sporting carnival because of their good results in the fringe sports," said Tergat, adding that Commonwealth Games have now become more competitive.
Tergat noted that other sporting disciplines like boxing, table tennis, weightlifting, cycling, shooting and lawn bowling among others will need specialised training not only for the technical officials but coaches and athletes involved.
"We have continued to embrace archaic training programmed and approach and this for sure must change," said Tergat, adding that he is happy to have held meetings with the new Cabinet Secretary for sports Rashid Echesa and Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia in Gold Coast.
"They have realised that sports has its own budget."
Tergat and Tuwei said the results from Gold Coast were fair even though many people noted that the performance in Gold Coast was below par basing on the standards set in two previous games especially in athletics.
They noted that many elite athletes stayed away from the Commonwealth Games owing to their other engagements, leaving mostly upcoming athletes to do battle.
"Remember the Games came a bit early unlike before," said Tergat.
"This was a young team hence good opportunity to give them exposure," said Tuwei, saying their focus is to build a strong team for 2019 Doha World Championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
"Most senior athletes pleaded to be exempted from Gold Coast Games."
Tuwei said most of the senior elite athletes are almost hanging their spikes from championship races hence the need to groom young ones to replace them.
Tuwei singled out Wycliffe Kinyamal, who won 800m gold, Cellphine Chespol (3,000m steeplechase) and Edward Zakayo (5,000m), who claimed silver medals as some of the youngsters being groomed.
Tuwei said plans are underway to put up fully-fledged camps in Nairobi and Eldoret to mould and tap talent.
Tuwei said sprints and field events camp will be put up in Nairobi for starters before considering middle and long distance camp probably in Eldoret in future.
"We must look for new strategies and these programmes will require proper coaches, finances and other resources to succeed," said Tuwei. "It will need joint efforts."
Tergat and Tuwei agreed on the need to engage their kit sponsor Nike further so as to benefit more from their partnership.
"Our contract has been for the supply of apparels but we want to approach them in a different way," said Tuwei.
"We have a contract with them until 2020 but we want to engage them and get what is best for us," said Tergat.