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Coast athletes ask for support

ATHLETICS By Dennis Okeyo | July 1st 2020
Benson Kombe. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

Lack of training facilities derails talent development

Despite running the show in sprints during primary and secondary schools contests, they have received little help.

Athletes in Coast have called on the government to help nurture latent talent in the region so they could also  shine like those from Rift Valley.

It’s sad that a 17-year-old athlete Benson Kombe, a national primary schools 100m and 200m champion is yet to put on spikes.

He does not have a coach, but while representing Coast during the national contest in Mumias last year, he obliterated a classy field while running barefoot. He was a pupil at Dabaso Primary School in Kilifi County.

Kombe, now a Form One student at ACK Canon Mweri Memorial Secondary School in Malindi, Kilifi County, still runs barefoot with no proper training gear as he prepares for the World Under-20 Championships national trials. 

The World Under-20 Championships were due for July 7-12 this year at Kasrani Stadium but were postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The budding athletes received food stuff worth Sh3000 and Sh3000 in cash. 

"We lack basic things like training shoes and track suits," said Kombe, who is hopeful of representing Kenya in future. 

“I have never had the opportunity of being coached by a qualified sprints coach, not even wore spikes or used the starting blocks. I hope to use them World under-20 national trials," he said.

Sprinter Muktar Farhan, who was part of the Coast region team that won the 4x100m title at the national primary schools athletics contest last year, said Coast athletes can perform well if they are supported.

"We can do well in sprints if we get running gear and good coaches. We have been competing barefoot for long and it’s about time we get help," mFarhan said. 

Farhan also won silver in 110 hurdles and bronze in 200m at the 2019 national primary schools athletics. 

Athletics Kenya (AK) Coast region requested support for top sprinters in national primary and secondary schools championships in the region.

"We have in the recent past produced national primary and secondary school champions but don't go far owing to many challenges including lack of proper training equipment," Kisalu said. 

“We are tentatively concentrating on sprints since we believe we can produce athletes for world events," noted Kisalu.

AK Youth Development director Barnaba Korir said Coast region has the capacity to produce good athletes capable of giving their rivals a run for their money. 

Korir called on county governments in the region to develop its sports infrastructure. "AK shall also play its role. We have identified Coast as part the areas to benefit from training gear," he said.

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