Thursday, 22 January 2009

Athletics Kenya : A little bit of this, a little bit of that

One of the busiest sports associations in Kenya is having a really interesting tunr of events as the year gets older. With the national cross-country meets on, the association decided to axe a number of agents (story here). What caught my eye is that all the agents were foreigners most operating from Europe. Maybe it's something we have never thought but why is it after 40 years of dominating the track, we can't afford to groom local athletes into agents? Furthermore can't Athletics Kenya develop training programmes for such agents for local athletes? This would reduce the incidence of unscrupulous agents out to make a living from our athletes. Famous athlete Henry Rono lost much of his fortune from dealing with such agents. Last year a local athlete lost his life in Brazil and the family was pleading for his body to be interred.
While they deal with the issue of agents, AK officials will also be seeking Government support to ensure they host the 2010 Africa Athletics championship. One thing that puzzles me when issues like these arise, where we Government officials when the bid was being made? And if they were there can't they make a commitment of so much and be obliged to sign up a document for such an undertaking?
The world over, major championships always have the backing of the central Government since this is one of the ways of marketing the country without much strain. This also commits them to infrastructural development which would otherwise be under-utilised.- Remember the boon for Mombasa for hosting the 2007 World Cross-Country championships?
Keeping it real, Athletics Kenya now have to source for a new sponsor for their Grand Prix event which brew controversy last year after EABL through its flagship brand Tusker withdrew. It emerged that Keino Sports Marketing bungled the prize money meant to be paid out to the winners. I'll be hope they can get a more relevant brand which would closely associate with athletics. New KCC and Brookside are 2 companies I can quickly throw in there.

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