Thursday, 30 August 2007

Success in Osaka......???



While the rest of you are cheering the wins of the 42km men's marathon, men's3000m steeplechase and the women's 800m by Kenyan athletes,methinks we ought to be really critical of the performances displayed. True we have done better so far the Helsinki 2005 where we could only manage 1 gold 2 silver and 4 bronze medals.
In my thinking the ONLY boon is the 800m women's race where Jepkosgei made easy meal of other ladies beating them to the tape comprehensively. But that's it for me in the Osaka so far. Why do I say so?
I'll give 2 examples here;
First the men's 10000m : 20 years ago one of Kenya's finest the late Paul Kipkoech did Kenya proud by winning Kenya her second Gold in the championships after Billy Konchellah's sprint in the 800m had surprised everyone including himself. This win was a boon to Kipkoech since he had played second fiddle to another world-class athlete in the world cross-country races for 2 years. He had also won by a comfortable gap putting the result beyond doubt.
Fast forward to 2007: One Kenenisa Bekele -Ethiopia's track phenomenon coming from the world cross country races in Kenya where he couldn't win his 6th Seniors title is looking out to revenge his loss. In the pack is the man who beat him one Zerseney Tadesse from Eritrea and a host of Kenyan athletes led by.....Having learnt the hard way about low altitude,high temperatures and humidity the Ethiopian showed why one can't expect him around for the next few years breaking records. Where are the Kenyans who even in their home country couldn't take the seniors individual title ?
Second race Men's 1500m: While we have had a hot & cold for this race in major championships my concern goes to the naturalised athlete one Bernard Lagat who won the race for the USA saying 'it's the happiest day of my life'( what irony! -it hurt seeing him round the lap of honour with the stars & stripes). 3 years ago while he was still Kenyan he won the silver for Kenya after sprinting down the last 50 m with Hisham el Guerrouj of Morocco who kept the rivalry alive but never lost to him both at the World Championships in 2001 & Olympics in 2004.
Reasons:
1. Our athletes have to start preparing for major world championships with enough preparations and also scientific research. Sample this the reason Bekele won his race easily was because having run to exhaustion in Mombasa he decided to delay his flight to Osaka to avoid loss of red blood cells (oxygen carrying blood cells) due to change of altitude.
2. It was a joke using a high altitude zone to prepare for races to held at low altitude,high humidity and temperatures.This leads to exhaustion and quick burn-out which displayed in the earlier races at Osaka especially the marathon and long races.
3.What do we have to do to retain our athletes ? Going by the medals standings Kenya ought to be 2nd now if the naturalised athletes would quickly revert to the country of birth. It has something to do with the selection,maintenance and remuneration of athletes. What the Government has started offering is a good start but is peanuts compared with the true value of the earnings they can earn from appearance fees,endorsements as well as bonuses for winning.
4. AK-the richest sports body in Kenya need change with the times. There are always issues during preparations to major games and the officials often give faint reasons and when the runners don't perform the coaches are axed without proper procedures.They have also held office for too long .Move over guys !

I'll keep my eyes on the prize but I'll not bank my hopes too high from the athletes in Osaka.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do u mean by "our athletes"...these are not your athletes, they are just guyz hustling for a leaving just like you...and whatever they win, they win or lose they do so as individuals - forget these patriotic nonsense...

The Figure said...

Thanx Anon for your comments. While you may begrudge the idea of patriotism I believe that's the way of African athletes and indeed other countries too will have their identity. Remember it's not always the bread-&-butter,there's a greater sense of pride from one's own country. The Chinese have showed the way....or do we have an African team since there is strength in numbers ?