Team Kenya for Kampala 2017 decries poor transport in camp

From L to R: Team Kenya captain Leonard Komon, Deputy Captain, Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, ...
From L to R: Team Kenya captain Leonard Komon, Deputy Captain, Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, World Cross champion, Geoffrey Kamworor and National titleholder, Leonard Barsoton during the launch of the Kampala 2017 World Cross camp in Kigari, Embu on March 8, 2017. PHOTO/Caro Kones

Lack of movement is hampering Team Kenya’s preparations for the Kampala 2017 IAAF World Cross according to Rio 2016 Olympics women 1500m champion and Deputy Team Captain, Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon.

The two-time World Cross junior women gold medallist appealed to Athletics Kenya (AK) officials to organise better transport for the team that is based in Kigari, Embu to enable them access better terrain for endurance training.

Chepng’etich made the remarks during the official launch of the camp by AK top officials on Wednesday at their St. Mark’s Teachers Training College base located some 200km east of the capital Nairobi.

The star-studded squad is preparing to defend their overall title on March 26 at the Kololo Grounds in Kampala.

“I appreciate the hospitality that we have received here though you (AK officials) took long to come see us here in camp. We kept looking at the gate to see if you are coming.

“Our request for the transport is because we are not able to travel places where we can do serious hill work for loading. We are just going to nearby fields and it’s not that are not up to standard,” Chepng’etich who is back in the team after missing the last edition- Guiyang 2015 in China-through injury decried.

Echoing her sentiments, team Captain Leonard Patrick Komon who will run for Kenya at his sixth World Cross also urged AK President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei who presided over the launch to review their training allowances.

Komon who won senior men (12km) silver at the 2008 edition in Edinburgh, England lauded AK for the prompt payment of local allowances.

Earlier, the world record holder over the 10K and 15K road races assured the team was unfazed about the threat posed by naturalised Kenyan runners turning for other nations in Kampala.

“We know them and are used to running against them. They are our fellow Kenyans and we do not have a problem with them. Our mission is not to go and look for who is competing and where they are competing for; our aim is to win,” Komon who ran the fastest half marathon debut in history of 59:14 in Berlin emphasised.

Addressing the runners, AK boss Tuwei said the team would be rewarded for their good work in Kampala without disclosing what was in store.

The federation boss was pleased with the team because they are not intimidated by Kenyan born athletes representing other nations as he singled out those who excelled at the Rio Olympics in the team saying they were good role models for the rest of the side.

Chepng’etich, Hyvin Kiyeng (women 3000m steeplechase silver) and Margaret Nyairera (women 800m bronze) medalled in Brazil last summer.

World Cross senior men titleholder, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor (men 10000m), Alice Aprot (women 10000m) and Beijing 2008 Olympics winner, Asbel Kiprop (men 1500m) round the list of those who ran in Rio that made the Kampala 2017 squad.

Agnes Tirop who scooped the women senior crown at the Guiyang World Cross also made the team to defend her title.

Team Kenya which is comprised of 30 athletes and eight officials is due to travel to Uganda on March 24 and return a day after the biennial global showpiece.

-Report by Charity Wanja and Carol Kones

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