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Moi University sprinter poised to make history in China

By Agnes Aineah | Aug 3rd 2017 | 4 min read
  • Laventa Amutavi says she relishes the chance to compete in 100 metres, 200 metres and the long jump.
  • Laventa Amutavi, 21, is set to represent Kenya in the universities athletics competitions to be held in China mid this month.

The Moi University, main campus sprinter, who is training at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi, and at the University of Nairobi sports grounds in Nairobi, will compete in 100 metres, 200 metres and the long jump.

The August 15 to September 2 event will bring together only the cream of the crop in athletics from top universities in the world.

“It is an honour to represent my country at an international event and what I can promise at the moment is to give my best in the competitions. I expect to meet well-trained athletes and I can’t take anything for granted,” Amutavi says. “I have come a long way to let this opportunity pass by without making an impact,” she says.

Growing an athletic nerve has not been rosy for the fourth year student who is the only sprinter at Moi University.

“It is not easy being a sprinter at Moi University that has facilities only for long distance runners. Most of my colleagues dropped out of the sport and I have been all alone,” she says.

She says that a sprinter at the Eldoret-based university is exposed to a myriad of challenges as there is no single coach dedicated to the sport. She says that sprinters at Moi University are not provided with enough sporting facilities like a gym, tiers and such facilities that are required to train sprinters.

Amutavi says she was fortunate to meet Ferdinand Omanyala, a fellow athlete at the University of Nairobi during the East Africa Athletics Competitions that were held last year at the Kasarani sports grounds when she was on attachment in Nairobi. Having participated in 100 metres, Amutavi emerged the only Kenyan finalist.

“Ferdinand was impressed by my performance and he told me I could perform better with training,” she says.

When her attachment came to an end, Amutavi says she chose to stay in Nairobi to access free training facilities at UoN.

“Meanwhile, Omanyala linked me to Duncan Anyiemba who is my current coach at the University of Nairobi. I lack words to thank Mr Anyiemba as he trains me for free,” she says.

Amutavi says she plunged into serious training mid-January this year and come June, she participated in the Bahamas relays, a competition that otherwise drew in refined professionals. She emerged a semi-finalist in the 100 metres and 200 metres at the nationals, an achievement that saw her obtain a wild card.

“With the world card, I can rest assured that everything for my China trip is catered for, including air tickets and payments for all other expenses. In this way, my university will not have to bear a huge burden for my sake,” she says.

Amutavi, however, urges universities to support student athletes, especially in providing training facilities for them and releasing their allowances promptly to boost their morale.

Apart from the Bahamas relays, Amutavi has had a wonderful time in the world of sports all the way from high school.

“I was only an athlete by name in primary school as I always shied away from competitions despite practising very hard,” she recalls.

She says it was until she joined high school that she met a mentor who was also a sprinter and in 2009 while at Kaimosi Girls High School. She participated in the Heptathlons up to provincial level.

This set pace for major landslides in Moi University where she participated in the Kenya Universities Sports Association (Kusa) athletics in 2013 when she was in first year, winning a bronze in 100 metres and a silver in 200 metres.

The social sciences student also participated in the 2014 regional athletics competitions that were held in Uganda and emerged a finalist in the short races. Assured to make it big in athletics, Amutavi says she embarked on rigorous self-training and her efforts later earned her one of the victories that went down her diary with a thud. In the 2015 Kusa athletics competitions, she won in 100 metres, a silver in the 200 metres and another win in the long jump.

Omanyala describes Amutavi as “an epitome of success” who is willing to sacrifice anything to succeed in sports.

“And since I know she is ready to learn, I have decided to dedicate whatever resources I have to see her succeed, including advice, motivation, tactics and sometimes financial,” Omanyala says.

Omanyala will be flying UoN’s flag in sprints alongside Amutavi. The two form the aggregate of what universities in Kenya will be sending to China to battle out the rest of the cream of the crop in global athletics.

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