Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kenya: too few training facilities

Nairobi, Daily Nation reports — The huge athletics team in camp is facing problems accessing training facilities with only one tartan track at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani available for its use.

With just a half of the team in camp, the coaches are already facing logistical.

Both the main stadium track at Kasarani and Nyayo national Stadium are out of bound for the team, leaving the head coach Stephen Mwaniki pondering of alternative grounds.

Mwaniki, who specialises in sprints events leading 12 other trainers in handling the team of 144 athletes for the biennial competition, is concerned over lack of standard training facilities for the huge team.

"I must recall all the coaches to map out the best training schedule to avoid clashes and see that everyone is given opportunity to prepare and be in the best shape. We only have the warm up track outside Kasarani to ourselves. The main track inside the stadium is yet to be opened to us because of the on ongoing renovations," said Mwaniki.


However AK is in negotiations with Sports Stadium Management Board to see if the athletes can be allowed to use the tartan in the stadium with renovation work mainly concentrating on the stands.

"We have to share. There are throwers, middle distance, sprints, walkers and long distance athletes all here and the facility is a bit small for this big group. We as coaches have to plan well," said Mwaniki.

Athletics Kenya has issued a July 17 deadline for all athletes taking part in IAAF Diamond League to report to camp for the final preparations of the 17th African Athletics Championships (AAC).

Just 73 athletes are in camp at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. However head coach Stephen Mwaniki is not worried about the others, majority who are in Europe for the lucrative IAAF Diamond League competition.

"I am impressed by the turn out so far. We have to take this competition serious and I am privileged to be the man to guide the team," said Mwaniki.

Among some of the top names who have no engagement in Europe and have reported to camp include Wilson Kiprop, the fastest athlete over the 10,000m mark in a high altitude area, who clocked 27:26.93 during the national trials.

Others are 2002 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in the 3,000m steeplechase Abraham Cherono, Mercy Njoroge and new upstart in the 400m sprint Anderson Mureta.

Report to camp

AK secretary general David Okeyo, reiterated that all athletes selected for the championship must report to camp on July 17 after the Paris leg of the Diamond League.

"I have to confirm that all the athletes competing abroad are there with our permission and we expect them to use the meetings to gauge their preparedness before returning home. But we will not tolerate any athlete to come in camp later than the set deadline," said Okeyo.

Focus will be on Kenyan runners, especially world leaders in 800m and 3,000m steeplechase. At 21 and already the African record holder at 1:42.01, the lanky David Rudisha will be in Lausanne on Wednesday to try and improve on his time.

Having set a new record in Diamond League in Oslo over the 800m race of 1:42.04 to beat Sebastian Coe's 1:42.33 meeting record, set 31 years ago, which was nine years before Rudisha was born, the Kenyan is the favourite to retain his Africa title at home.

Others running abroad are Olympics women 1,500m gold medallist, Nancy Jebet Lagat, Olympics men 1,500m champion, Asbel Kiprop, world leader in women' s 3,000m steeplechase.