As Kenya prepares for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary in August, new methods of training need to be put in place to ensure the steeplechase titles to returns home, the 2008 Beijing Olympics steeplechase bronze medallist Richard Mateelong has advised.
Mateelong said he believes Kenya has the ability to reclaim the steeplechase title that has eluded her athletes in the last global championships and the Olympics.
He said he was disappointed that a race that the country’s long distance runners had dominated over the years in different international championships across the globe had been taken over by opponents who had copied Kenya’s training styles.
“It’s shocking to see us lose a race we have dominated for long enough against opponents who take their time to train with us and copy how we do our things in this specialty,” Mateelong’ told Standard Sports in an exclusive interview.
Mateelong outlined a number of measures that Athletics Kenya and national coaches need to address for Kenya to snatch back the title in the World Athletics Championships in Budapest and next year’s Olympics in Paris.
Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali is the Olympics and world champion over the distance having won in Tokyo in 2021 and the last year in Oregon.
He said there’s need for coaches to train runners on strategies on how to go over the hurdles with ease and less stamina as opposed to their opponents.
On speed and stamina, he said runners need to be trained on how to maintain a certain rate of speed with the assistance of their pace setters and the use of stamina when starting and finishing the race
“These three aspects should be seriously addressed by AK with the possibility of introducing experienced cross-country runners into this technical race,” said Matelong’ who also represented Kenya in the World Cross Country Championships in 2007 and 2010.
“Early preparation is important if we are to reign supreme again,” he stated.
He said steeplechasers must also avoid taking part many races both locally and internationally to avoid fatigue.
“Planning by runners is equally important in the choice of crucial races to avoid burnouts. This should effectively be addressed by coaches but not agents if we are to succeed,” he said.
He said agents can only assist the runners to identify lucrative meetings around the globe but not to dictate the runners’ timetable.