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School games a big boost to talent nurture

By Editorial | December 3rd 2021

Sydney Omondi of Mbooni school in action against Adegi of Rwanda during the East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Games at TGT in Arusha, Tanzania. August 19, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The resumption of school games should be a huge a sigh of relief for the sporting industry. This should help us recover talents wasting away due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Ministry of Education with other ministries, have developed guidelines to ensure the pandemic does not hinder sports once they resume fully.

We bask in a talent glut in rugby, volleyball, basketball and football thanks to co-curricular activities in schools. That students from St Patrick’s High School Iten made the national team to Olympic Games from 1972 to 2012, is no mean feat.

We had twins Kipkoech Cheruiyot (1,500m) and Charles Cheruiyot (5,000m), then Form Three students at the school, competing in 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It was an exciting achievement but none of the athletes from the school has graced the games since 2012.

Sing’ore Girls and Kapkenda Girls produced world-beating athletes while Cardinal Otunga Mosocho (basketball) and Kisumu Girls (hockey) hogged the headlines; all these were necessitated by the education curriculum.

Others such as Kakamega School and Itiero High School in Kisii served as feeders for Harambee Stars over the years. Harambee Stars midfielder Eric Ouma, Simon Mulama and Mike Kisaghi are leading lights from Kakamega School while former winger Henry Motego, former striker Mike Okoth and the late Henry Nyandoro studied at Itiero High School.

Former Kenya Sevens captain Humprey Kayange nurtured his rugby skills at Kakamega School. So, it’s high time we take cue from these stars and build a strong sporting empire in all our schools. Unfortunately, the performances have dropped drastically. The change of school calendar is to blame. Unlike before when school sports programmes were aligned with the international schedule, the trend is now different.

The cross country season gets to its climax in March at either the Africa cross country championships or the world cross country championships. The same case resonates with track events that enter the international stage in June and July.

The Ministry of Education placed athletics in February and March in schools, which automatically clashes with junior international events like world under-20 athletics championships.

Such a calendar affects training for those selected to represent the country.

Unfortunately, the current curriculum has ruined raw talents and led to fall of schools’ sports giants. Let’s re-engineer our schools’ sporting powerhouses.

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