The curtain drew on this year’s Commonwealth Games that were held in the Gold Coast, Australia, on April 15, 2018. The event hosted more than 4500 athletes from 71 nations. The next commonwealth games will be held in 2022 in Birmingham, England.
In Gold Coast, the Kenyan team won 17 medals; 4 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze. Our team must be commended for the effort it put in to get these medals, but needless to add, more was expected of them. The Kenyan team emerged at position 14 overall. South Africa and Nigeria registered better results, emerging at positions 6 and 9 respectively.
In Athletics, Kenya, no doubt, is a power house, but that alone cannot make us stand out when other countries totally eclipse us in other disciplines. And even in athletics, our dominance has been seriously challenged.This calls for a serious review of what ails our sporting fraternity. The point from which to start examining our shortcomings is that of leadership that has, for a long time, been embroiled in wrangles. Once, it was necessary to investigate officials of the National Olympics Committee for their role in mismanaging Kenya’s team to the August 2016 Rio Olympics.
The performance of the Kenyan team in the commonwealth games has been going down since 2010. In the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in India, Kenya won 29 medals; 11 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze. In 2014, the medals dropped to 27; 9 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze in the games that were held in Glasgow, Scotland.
This is a worrying trend that must be arrested. To begin with, it is important to ensure the team trains well with as few distractions as possible. The government and respective sports associations should invest in science and technology to supplement the natural talent of our sports persons. There is need for a proper centre of excellence to help coordinate research and transfer of sports science in areas of sports medicine.
We must move away the ignominy of athletes staying in camp without training kits. Timely payment of allowances has been a sticky issue that should be resolved once and for all. Demotivated sportsmen and women cannot win us medals.