Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Why I am not celebrating yet

Photo courtesy of Reuters

While my fellow countrymen cheered and looked on as our Kenyan athletes made it to the finish line to win Kenya 2 gold medals, I was not up there cheering. At least not just yet!
I have said previously that we have perfected the art of gifting mediocrity in Kenya. Don’t get me wrong here now. Jelimo Pamela truly deserved the gold she won at the Games breaking the junior record and becoming Kenya’s youngest gold medalist to date and first woman gold medalist. I’ll be repeating what other media services have regurgitated about the 3000m steeplechase.
I will not be cheering because;
1.In the history of the Olympics, we were taking one of the smallest teams ever- 54sportspeople with 37 athletics, 4 boxers, 2 swimmers, 2 martial artist (tae-kwon-ndo) and 1 rower. Back in 1972, we had not just athletics represented; we could afford range shooters, hockey, and boxers; the diversity serving us well in medal chances.
2. Secondly, 40 years ago we won 3 gold medals; 20 years ago 5 and right now I don’t think we will honestly win another gold medal. We have been surpassed by Ethiopia, Russia, Morocco, and even the US is busy chasing us especially in the longer distance races such as 800m,1500m to name but a few.
3.Even in the celebrated athletics we can only sing about the 3000m steeplechase race which is also looking vulnerable-look at what the Frenchman did. 1972, our young men led by Charles Asati, Hezekiel Nyamau, Robert Ouko anchored by Julius Sang won Kenya a 4x400m gold beating even fancied countries like USA, Germany and then USSR. Can we seriously say we have such chances now with the shorter races looking too strong for our athletes?
I’ll not dwell on the solutions for these since we always have a report done by the officials as led by the Chef de Missio (sic)…. I’ll enjoy what is left of the Games. With the likes of new heros such as Usain Bolt and other new champions, the Games do not disappoint. I’m also not very patriotic right now not when we don’t put ourselves higher than what we are now.

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