African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala yesterday asked the government to help mitigate the cost of training, saying budding athletes were struggling with access to affordable training facilities.
Omanyala said the high cost of training was affecting athletes’ mental strength, and called for intervention.
He spoke in Eldoret during the award of sponsorships to athletes who are preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) through the National Olympic Committee Kenya (NOC-K), ANOCA funded seven podium potential athletes, among them Omanyala, with Sh1 million each.
“My urge to the government is to reduce the cost of accessing training facilities, or rather make it free and let people train and see who the next big stars are,” Omanyala said.
He added: “I am fortunate to get this sponsorship but there are so many athletes down here who don’t have such scholarships and there are those athletes who can’t afford to pay for the stadium.”The ANOCA athlete support programme, according to NOC-K, will help the athletes enhance their training ahead of the global showpiece set for July 26-August 11, 2024 in Paris, France.
Some of the beneficiaries of the sponsorships represented Kenya at the Tokyo Olympics last year, while others flew the country’s flag at the Oregon World Championships.
Abel Kipsang and Nicholas Kimeli who finished fourth in 1500m and 5000m respectively at the Tokyo Olympics last year as well as Charles Simotwo who also competed at the 2020 Olympic Games were among the seven winners of the scholarships.
Others are World Silver medallist Jacob Krop who displayed superb racing at the Diamond Leagues, winning in Bruxelles, Margaret Chelimo – the 2019 World 5,000m silver medalist and who won bronze in 10,000m at the 2022 World Championships and World silver medallist Beatrice Chebet.
Omanyala said the sponsorship will ease mental stress that results from the high cost of preparing for global races such as the Olympics and the World Championships.