Lack of facilities dragging South Rift athletes behind

Athletes race during the National Cross Country Championship at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya on ...
Athletes race during the National Cross Country Championship at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya on February 18, 2017. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

South Rift athletes have decried lack of training facilities as they bid to emulate the success of their neighbours from the north who have dominated distance running for ages.

The Professional Athletics Association of Kenya (Paak) South Rift Branch Secretary, Peter Cheruiyot lampooned the County Governments of Bomet and Kericho for not using money allocated to development of sport to lift the region as an athletics force.

According to Cheruiyot, the two counties have the potential to produce the next crop of global icons in the world of athletics and could churn out up to 1000 top competitors should proper structures be adopted.

“Playing grounds are in sorry state besides lack of sports facilities in several counties across Kenya. Stadia are not up to the standards yet counties have money for sports. So we are asking the counties to address these issues for the sake of sports,” Cheruiyot who spoke in Kericho town lamented.

He announced Paak members would visit counties to have talks with those in charge of sports dockets to deliberate on what needs to be done to improve the sector.

Cheruiyot added the lack of training facilities has pegged back athletes from the South Rift region who have had to watch their counterparts enjoy global excellence.

“Counties have yet to provide conducive environment for sports personalities so we are questioning how the money allocated for sports is being used. Of all sectors of the economy, the development of sports has yet to enjoy the fruits of devolution,” he stated.

He added Paak have been promoting an anti-doping campaign drive dubbed ‘run clean win clean’ as they seek to shield them against malicious sports agents and the effects of illegal performance enhancing drugs.

The official also advocated for the need for better incentives for athletes who bring medals to the country, a move he says will make them feel appreciated and prevent transfer allegiance.

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