Athletics stakeholders gathered in the renowned athletics hotbed of Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, on Wednesday for the second phase of the consultative forums. The discussions uncovered a slew of concerns that the athletes want addressed in order to better the sport.
Among them, Moses Kiptanui, the former world record holder in the 3000m steeplechase, decried the fact that many of his colleagues do not have a long-term plan while they are still competing.
“Even when milking a cow, there are times when everything stops working and you have to be more alert to be alive.” “Only a handful of athletes have run for more than ten years, and they can be counted,” Kiptanui added.
“I’m talking about people like Eliud Kipchoge, the world marathon record holder, Ezekiel Kemboi, the multi-Olympic and world champion, and previous Commonwealth Games 10,000m winner, among others,” he continued.
Most of the athletes who ran alongside him in the 1990s are now living in filth, according to Kiptanui.
“Many cannot buy shoes, and some have been forced to rely on their old spikes, which were designed for running, to go around.” We forget where we came from as soon as we begin to make money, and before we realize it, we are bankrupt,” he continued.
Kiptanui believes Kenya may restore its steeplechase dominance by focusing on the water-and-hurdles event.
“We are not as terrible off as many people think, and despite a dismal showing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Kenya’s traditional sport can still be saved,” he said.
Given that he smashed seven world records while training on murram, Kiptanui believes sportsmen don’t need much to perform.
“The government is not required to provide tartan track. Even a well-made murram track can help. After all, legends like Kipchoge Keino and the late Naftali Temu were still able to succeed while training on grass,” Kiptanui explained.
On the same topic, Edward Zakayo, the 2018 Commonwealth 5000m champion, bemoaned the lack of facilities for athletes to develop their speedwork.
“Athletes are forced to fly to Eldoret to acquire facilities for speedwork, despite the fact that lodging is not a huge issue.” This takes a long time and costs a lot of money, so it would be fantastic if AK could look into it,” Zakayo remarked.
Other concerns raised by several speakers were the appearance of brokers, unqualified trainers, the lack of an AK academy, and sexual harassment.