Commonwealth Games: Sprint coaches decry exclusion from Club Games

By DENNIS OKEYO: Wednesday, February 21st 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Walter Moenga sprints during the 200m men semi-finals heat two during the Athletics Kenya National Championship at Nyayo Stadium on 06-06-2014.PHOTO/DENNIS OKEYO

Some sprint coaches have accused Athletics Kenya (AK) of shutting them out of the team to the 21st Commonwealth Games.

The competition will be held in Gold Coast, Australia, from April 4-15.

The team, which comprises seasoned athletes and newcomers, will report to camp on March 2. The venue is yet to be decided considering Kasarani Stadium is under renovation.

The sprint coaches have appealed to AK to reconsider their decision and pick a trainer to guide the 14 sprinters in the team.

Sprinting is a more dynamic event that needs finer points and technique for the 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles with practice drills, training sessions, technical advice and strength training, according to a sprint coach who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

Competent coaches

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“We have coaches who have three to four sprinters in the team, but were not considered. This makes us wonder about AK’s selection,” said the dejected sprint coach.

On Saturday, AK named 56 track and field athletes at Kasarani Stadium for the Commonwealth Games.

But Paul Mutwii, the AK senior Vice President in charge of competitions, dismissed the claims, saying the coaches are competent in all areas.

“We have selected coaches who are competent in all areas from hurdles, short races, middle distance, long distance and marathon. They are trained in all areas. We have a quota and we can only work with the number allocated to us by the National Olympics Committee,” said Mutwii.

He added: “At the same time, we have already identified non-travelling coaches who will help the team during their residential training.   

AK has also selected four field events athletes led by Commonwealth Games javelin champion Julius Yego and one decathlon Gilbert Koech, but they do not have a coach.

Japhet Kemei has been named team head coach while Julius Kirwa, William Murgor and Joseph Kirwa will handle marathoners, all of them long distance coaches. [Dennis Okeyo]