Prepare well for Budapest meet in two months

Hellen Obiri takes a lead ahead from other female athletes from various KDF barracks in the country during the qualifier race on the first day at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi on May 24, 2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenya has exactly two months to prepare for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary which kick off in August. Thus the country has ample time to put together an award-winning team and prepare the athletes adequately.

Last-minute preparations have cost the country big time in the past and there should be enough lessons for all athletics stakeholders. The government, Athletics Kenya, the technical bench and the athletes must step up to the plate and prepare for the global stage.

Indeed, Kenya cannot take her raw and abundance of talent for granted and wait for an excellent outing in Budapest.

Other countries go to great lengths to prepare their teams for global competitions. The players are accorded professional coaches, doctors and even nutritionists ahead of the assignments. This is besides timely and adequate financial resources.

In the past, we have had players preparing for national duty, go to camp spend money from their pockets for months only to lack flight tickets and accommodation on the last day. They then resort to begging and pleading with individuals and big companies for financial boost.

The athletes are demoralised and only go to represent their national flag for pride, expecting no financial reward.

That said, the Budapest meeting offers Kenya a chance to stamp her authority in athletics. Still, there are races we have not won gold for many years now. Men's 10,000 metres gold was last clinched in 2001 by Charles Kamathi. In men’s 5,000 metres, we had Benjamin Limo back in 2005. In these races, Kenya must prepare well and deliver victory.

We must also counter Ethiopia and Morocco’s challenge in long and middle distance races. These two nations have in the past given Kenyan athletes a run for their money.

Looked at critically, you will notice that the two countries have left nothing to chance while preparing for global tournaments. Kenya must step up her preparations to restore dominance.

Budapest should also offer African 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala a chance to win Kenya’s first gold in the Championship. We urge him to prepare adequately for the prestigious competition and deliver a performance he will always look at proudly in future.

Faith Kipyegon, the world record holder in 5,000 metres, should also prepare well for the championship and continue holding the Kenyan flag high. Delivering gold in Budapest will cement her already glorious and decorated standing among Kenya’s greats in the race.

For the Ministry of Sports, the chance is here for them to demonstrate their commitment to athletics and the sports men and women.

The ministry should facilitate a training camp and selection of the best players. The whole team should be picked on merit and only those in best condition should make it to Budapest.