Commonwealth Games: No available training venues as departure nears

By DENNIS OKEYO: Wednesday, February 21st 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
2018 commonwealth games trials Timothy Cheruiyot leads Elijah Manangoi in 1500m finals during the Commonwealth Games Trials.[Dennis Okeyo, Standard media.

Athletics team faces hurdles

Accommodation hitch grips as track and field squad prepares for contest in Australia.

There are no training venues for athletes preparing for the Commonwealth Games that run in Gold Coast, Australia, from April 4-15.

The 65-member athletics squad also faces accommodation hitches just a month before the team departs for Australia. They are to report to residential training camp in March, but the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) is yet to identify training venues and accommodation facilities for them.

“As you are aware, most facilities like Nyayo Stadium are under renovation. Kasarani Stadium warm up track is fine only that it will be used by field events athletes for training. The hostels are undergoing renovations.

Quite expensive

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“We have contacted Kenyatta University (KU) which accommodated the teams during the World Under-18, but their rooms are fully booked. Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium is another option only that they don’t have hostels to house the team,” said Barnaba Korir, the national Chef De Mission.

Korir said: “Some facilities like Kenya School of Monetary Studies are quite expensive and we can’t afford to pay for every athlete.”

Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, which hosted the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, is also under renovation. The rest of the teams will be training across the country where access the equipment they require.  

Kenya will participate in 16 sports disciplines and, so far, 14 teams have already done their selections with swimming and cycling as the only two sports disciplines are et to name their teams.  

The Ministry of Sports has approved the team's Sh450 million budget, but the funds have not been released.

“Our budget for the games was approved by the Government and they have assured us that the funds will be released this week to help our preparations,” said Korir.

Previous Nock office holders had been accused of misappropriation of funds and Nike kits.

Newly elected officials, led by former World marathon record holder Paul Tergat, have promised to be transparent.

“What you used to hear about Nock; all the negative stories is now a thing of the past. I assure you,” Tergat said during Soya awards gala last month at KICC.

Yesterday, Nock Treasurer Antony Kariuki reiterated that promise: “We have agreed with Nike, all the shipment and clearance will be done by them. Some of the equipment is already here in our office.”