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Why Kenyan elites should be supporters of African athletics

Thursday June 13 2019

Kenya's Benjamin Kigen competes in the Men's 3000m steeplechase during the IAAF Diamond League competition on June 6, 2019 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. PHOTO | FILIPPO MONTEFORTE |

Kenya's Benjamin Kigen competes in the Men's 3000m steeplechase during the IAAF Diamond League competition on June 6, 2019 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. PHOTO | FILIPPO MONTEFORTE |  AFP

BARNABAS KORIR
By BARNABAS KORIR
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With the Athletics Kenya track and field series now over, the focus turns to the Africa Games scheduled for August 19 to September 2 in Morocco.

To start us off will, of course, be the national trials scheduled for June 21 to 23 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

I must say the weekend meetings which have visited three venues, namely Nyeri, Mumias and Narok, have been interesting and have in the process attracted the who is who in the local athletics circles.

We hope the same spirit will be extended to the trials as we intend to select a very strong team to represent Kenya during the Africa Games.

One thing is for sure: those who have been consistent in the local circuit will no doubt stand to be counted during trials and those who opted to sit on their laurels will have themselves to blame at the end of it all.

Incitement of upcoming runners

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As they say the end justifies the means and you can reap what you have sewn.

But as we look forward to the Africa Games, I am made to understand that some athletes especially the elite lot are already opting out in the pretext that they want to focus on the World Championships in Doha later in September.

This is wrong and I think they need to consider the AG because of a number of reasons.

First, their announcement to pull out is not only an incitement of the upcoming runners but also in bad taste.

This is because the games are likely to be misconstrued as useless or rather second class.

Athletes should remember that the 5,000 and the 10,000 metres have been phased out of the Diamond League meeting and it’s important for them to run in Morocco because it is only alternative for especially the long distance runners.

Time to build Africa

The truth is that we have to build Africa if we are to enjoy our races.

In any case, the AG trials will be used as a yardstick to pick some of the runners who will grace the World Championships.

Athletes must therefore take advantage of the trials and use it as a build-up for the global show.

Countries like Ethiopia, hosts Morocco and Algeria among others are taking the event seriously and I don’t see why Kenyans shouldn’t.

Dates should not be an excused because the AG and the World Championships are well spaced and how will perform in Morocco will very much dictate our results in Doha.

The time to build Africa is now!

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

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