Kenya needs to invest more in field events, says official

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Nairobi, July 20 (IANS) A senior official at Athletics Kenya (AK) has said that the country should commit more resources to field events if it hopes to increase its medal haul in the international arena.

Barnaba Korir, who is in charge of youth development at the national organisation, told Xinhua news agency here on Wednesday that it is time the country stopped relying on the traditional long and middle distance races and diversified to other events, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The country does not invest anything on Kenyan runners of middle and long distance events because of the mistaken belief that they are naturally talented. But that does not mean that it should also do the same for field events,” Korir said.

“The seriousness of a nation in matters pertaining to sports is adjudged by how much capital it commits in developing its young generation. My plea for money to be channelled towards field events for the youth fell on deaf ears and now the results are there for all to see,” he added.

Korir, who was the manager of the Kenyan team during the recently-concluded World U-18 Athletics Championships held in Nairobi, said the country lacked athletes in pole vault, high jump, shot put and discus-throw because there are no coaches for the events.

“As much as we call ourselves a sporting nation, we lack such basic facilities like landing gear for pole vault and high jump,” Korir lamented.

“Our high jumpers clear the bar using the scissor kick instead of the back flip. How does one expect them to employ the latter style and land on a sand pit with their backs, hence the old-fashioned way,” he added.

The former long distance runner debunked the widely held belief that Kenyan runners win races because of natural talent.

“Talent is an inborn quality that will only carry one so far, but it is futile unless you go for it. Kenyan runners work hard because hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard,” he said philosophically, adding that that is reason enough for Kenyans to work hard in field events.

–IANS

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