Friday, 15 April 2011

Kenyan Marathoners to Retrace their steps ???

The last week saw the Kenyan and indeed the athletics world treated to some shocking news. The organisers of the Utrecht Marathon have decided to discourage Kenyan marathoners from participating by granting prize money of a measly € 100 (approx. $144). Compare this with the prize money of € 100,000 promised to the local Dutch runners winning the race.
Illustration courtesy of Jason Atwood

If there has ever been discrimination of any kind , this is an example right there! It should be condemned from the highest of places and wonder what the IAAF and Athletics Kenya have to say about this.
Given the domination of Kenyan athletes in major marathons across Europe with the country contributing at least 85-90% wins over any given year, this is a real disgrace to the very essence of a sport. If you cannot make a sport competitive by getting the athletes or participants to train harder, seek smarter ways to victory or even 'import talent', live with the fact that there will always be a winner who might not always tickle your fancy.
As for Kenyan marathoners and the athletics fraternity in Kenya, it seems your success has not always left the best of impressions in most race organisers in Europe and other parts of the world. The World Marathon Majors series starts this weekend with the first marathon on card being the London Marathon  on 17th April followed by Boston Marathon the 18th April before taking a break and continuing in September at the Berlin Marathon.
Let this announcement serve as ample motivation to win and win comprehensively for any Kenyan participant. We shall be proudly singing with you the victory song and enjoy playing that our national anthem once again!

Brand Kenya had made one of its major country branding strategies to focus on marketing the country through the major marathons across the world. They are currently setting up shop at Boston along RunWithKenyans which is seeking to partner along the same lines and create linkages between US marathoners and the Kenyan market.
Their work is now really cut out with such careless pronouncements from our European brothers.

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