By Gilbert Wandera
Despite returning their best ever performance at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu South Korea, officials have expressed concern over the poor performance menâs long distance races.
The menâs team did not win medals in the 10,000m and 5,000m events with the best Kenyans in both races finishing way below the medal brackets.
Martin Irungu Mathathi was the best Kenyan in the 10,000m event where he finished fifth as Peter Kirui finished sixth.
Isaiah Kiplangat Koech managed fifth position in the 5,000m event while Thomas Longosiwa managed sixth and Eliud Kipchoge, who won in 2003, managed seventh position.
It was the fifth consecutive time that Kenyan runners have failed to win the menâs 10000m title.
Mathathi said Kenya opponents this year were tougher and stronger than them and deserved to win.
âWe lost to better runners and could not keep up with the pace,â said the athlete who is based in Japan.
Head coach Peter Mathu said they were also disappointed by the poor show in the long distance races.
âGoing into the championships, we had three athletes who had impressive times. But in the competition, they just did not have the finishing kick. This is something we must look into as a matter of urgency,â he said on arrival.
Mathu said there is need to re-look at the training methods of long distance runners in the country and also blamed the many road races for slowing down athletes in championships.
âMany of our athletes take part in road races prior to major championships and this always slows them down when the competition starts. It is something we must look into as a mater of urgency,â he said.
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