AK calls on government to sustain its ambitious youth camp programme


AK calls on government to sustain its ambitious youth camp programme
Athletes from Nyanza North train at Sang'oro Secondary School on December 20,2019. PHOTO/ Gilbert Kiprotich/Citizen Digital

In Summary

  • Athletics Kenya (AK) has urged the government to sustain the youth camp programme beyond the 2020 World Under-20 Championships.
  • Ahead of next year’s championships to be held in Nairobi between July 7-12, AK has set up 14 camps across the country as Kenya seeks to defend the overall title won at the 2018 championships held in Tampere, Finland.

Athletics Kenya (AK) has urged the government to sustain the youth camp programme beyond the 2020 World Under-20 Championships.

Ahead of next year’s championships to be held in Nairobi between July 7-12, AK has set up 14 camps across the country as Kenya seeks to defend the overall title won at the 2018 championships held in Tampere, Finland.

Speaking to Citizen Digital after concluding a tour on the camps set up to prepare prospective junior athletes ahead of the global event, AK chair of Youth and Development Committee Barnabas Korir said the programme is seeking to breed young athletes at the grassroots for the future.

According to Korir, despite major focus being the upcoming championship that will be held for the first time on home soil, the programme if sustained, will go a long way in transforming athletics in the country.

“In every camp that we visited athletes and coaches alike were clear on this; they want the camps to remain even after the World Under-20. Therefore, we are going to petition the government to find ways and means of sustaining these camps. Our desire is to transform athletics from the grassroots and the major players in this programme are both the county and national governments,” said Korir

With majority of the junior athletes drawn from primary and secondary schools, the camp which closed on December 21 will reopen again in April holidays with the trials for the championships slated for May, two months prior to the global extravaganza.

Despite success in middle and long-distance events, Kenya has for a long time struggled in sprints and field events in major championships and according to Korir, early scouting and exposure from the grassroots is the only way out if Kenya is to break the jinx.

“For long Kenya has failed to emerge top in global events because we usually fall short of medals in sprints and field events, we now need to focus on these events,” said Korir. “We have the talents in these young kids, they only need support and they will deliver the medals,” Korir who also doubles as AK Nairobi branch chairman, said.

Ahead of the 2017 World Under-18 championship penciled for Nairobi, AK had set up similar camps to train athletes but the programme could not be sustained as soon as the championship came to an end.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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