Why more Kenyans are opting for road races – Hussein


Athletes run on a road during a half marathon near the town of Eldoret in ...
Athletes run on a road during a half marathon near the town of Eldoret in western Kenya. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

In Summary

  • The last time Kenya won a gold medal at the Olympic 10,000 meters was in 1968 Mexico City Olympics, in Mexico, Naftali Temu being the last Kenyan to top the podium
  • And with the emergency of good paying road races around the world this trend is set to continue, despite the huge numbers of long distance athletes registered

The last time Kenya won a gold medal at the Olympic 10,000 meters was in 1968 Mexico City Olympics, in Mexico, Naftali Temu being the last Kenyan to top the podium.

And with the emergency of good paying road races around the world this trend is set to continue, despite the huge numbers of long distance athletes registered.

According to three times Boston and Honolulu marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein Kipkemboi the less attention given to the race will jeopardize Kenya’s chances of reclaiming the title.

“Options are so many for our athletes, although I believe we have better athletes than Ethiopia: the option of running in road races will kill Kenya’s efforts,” Hussein told Citizen TV.

Adding, “ We have all witnessed the reduction of the long races in Diamond league and currently they are like three international events per year so the interest by athletes is also reducing, and they need to make a living,”

However the 1987 World Marathon Champion, who also won the 1990 New York City Marathon Douglas Wakiihuri, believes before venturing into road races an athlete should have something to be remembered with.

“Gold is a legacy one of the most memorable moments in the world,” he said.

Wakiihuri fears the competition witnessed in the World 3000m steeplechase final in Doha, Qatar may spell doom to Kenya’s dominance in the race since 1968.

In the recent past Kenya has won the gold medal at every Worlds championship, with the exception of 2003 at Saint Denis, France and 2005 at Helsinki, Finland where Kenyan born Saif Saaeed Shaheen formally known as Stephen Cherono broke Kenya’s dominance.

“I predict a tough race in Tokyo, Japan next year, let’s be reasonable and find out what is ailing us what is our opponents doing that we are not doing, why are we not increasing the medals that we have always won; we need to go back to the drawing board,” he affirmed.

“We have so many athletes but we are harvesting very little medals, we need to analyze our performance Wakiihuri

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