By Joe Kiarie
Adopt sport science or forget about gold medals in major international events. This is the warning by sport scientists to Kenyan athletics officials, as the dominance of our athletes inexplicably wanes.
Over the past 10 days, millions of Kenyans have nursed heartaches as medals bizarrely eluded the grip of our famed world-beaters at the London Olympics.
In what is fast becoming a norm, the athletes have been commanding the long and middle-distance races from the gun, only for their rivals to smoke them with a devastating finishing kick with under 200m to go.
This poor show has been blamed on a cocktail of factors, among them internal strife, poor tactics, lack of teamwork, and burnout due to participation in multiple international events.
But with Kenyan runners being constantly pipped to podium finishes in the homestretch after leading their rivals for miles, Geoffrey Kimani, a speed and conditioning trainer, states that failure to incorporate science in training is proving to be Kenya’s main undoing.
He blames officials for overdependence on raw talent and untrained coaches, noting that most modern-day conquerors are products of a greater understanding of biomechanics of sport movement, advanced training techniques, proper nutrition and advanced psychological support.
The US-trained sport scientist reveals that a faultless finishing kick is now the main difference between gold and losing and notes that this kick can only be induced via the marriage of science and sweat of the brow.
He says Kenya’s rivals are easily beating us after incorporating scientifically proven training regimens to boost their finishing and recovery.
“Most modern-day track conquerors are made and not born. In the women’s 10,000m for instance, how do you explain our girls matching the Ethiopians stride for stride for 24 laps, only to trail by more than 50m in the last lap?
That shows our rivals have worked on something we did not work on.
“The fact that they can shift gears at the end of a gruelling endurance event is proof that apart from just pounding the roads and hills in search of prowess in endurance, they have also incorporated speed and power programmes into their training regimens hence making use of the fast twitch muscle fibres,” he says.
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