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It is time to develop future athletics champions

By Editorial | October 5th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

That world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge failed to defend his title at the London Marathon is, no doubt, a wake up call to Athletics Kenya (AK) and other sports stakeholders.

Mr Kipchoge finished position eight in the race that was won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata. Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba emerged second. Later, Kipchoge explained that he was bogged down by a blocked ear, which is understandable. However, while we still continue counting on him to bring us medals and glory after he gets back to form, it is crystal clear that that won't last for long.

The “No Human Is Limited” champion is now 36-years-old and could exit the sporting stage anytime soon. That should jolt those responsible for talent development into focusing on budding athletes.

For many years, we have over-relied on a few individuals to fly the Kenyan flag high, and little is done to nurture latent talents at the grassroots. As the government moves to build stadia and sports infrastructure across the country, there is urgent need for AK to come up with a workable programme to ensure steady transition of young athletes.

This should start off from children development programmes in schools up to elite level. The Ministry of Education should work closely with the Sports ministry on these programmes.

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Among others, there is need to harmonise local and international calendars so that primary and secondary school students can adequately prepare for global events.

If we fail to prepare our young ones in time, the United States of America, Ethiopia and Morocco will continue threatening to wrest the 3000m steeplechase dominance we have enjoyed since 1968.

London Marathon Eliud Kipchoge Athletics Kenya
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