Olympics:Former athletes offer Varied views on team performance

Aug 15, 2021
  • Meseret Defar(ETH) crosses the finish line ahead of Vivian Cheruiyot(KEN) in the women's 5000m race.

Retired athletes have mixed reactions on Kenya’s performance at the just concluded London Olympic Games.

While some were congratulating the team for its performance others were blatantly dissatisfied with their performances.

Moses Tanui, two-time Boston marathon champion blamed Athletics Kenya,AK and National Olympic Committee of Kenya,NOCK arguing that the two bodies  failed to give clear guidelines on the preparation of athletes.

Tanui feels that the leadership of the two bodies must be changed if Kenya wants better performances in the next Olympic Games.

“I have been saying this since the year 1996 that leadership should be changed. They have failed the country because there was no team-work between the two bodies in preparing athletes for this year’s Olympics. You saw them fighting openly and you expect sterling performances? That was not possible,” Tanui said.

While condemning the federations for allowing the athletes to travel with their families, Tanui said athletes should be guided well and given ample time to meditate upon their races.

“It was very shocking to see families at the athlete’s camp in London. How can you allow them to stay with athletes even if someone is a husband as well as a coach at the same time?

We have the head coach who is in charge of the team and other coaches should know that their work ended while training at home!” he lamented.

He however urged them to begin new plans for the next Olympic Games since other countries embark on preparing their athletes earlier as soon as the Olympics end.

“They should identify athletes now and begin to train for Olympics. What we saw were individual athletes training with their managers for commercial races abroad after whom they come for trials to be selected to the team,” Tanui argued.

Another globe-trotting athlete –turned coach in Iten who cannot be named as he works with AK indirectly called president Kibaki to reshuffle the leadership of the two federations for its poor leadership.

“If you see the leaders in these federations, they have been there for a long period of time which is very tricky to the team because we need them to be reshuffle for a difference in training patterns."

He also blamed the meagre performance on changing of coaches arguing that athletes were subjected to different training programmes.

Patrick Sang, the 1992 Olympic 3000m steeplechase silver medalist congratulated the team for its performance.

He said it was the third best performance since Kenya’s participation in Olympic Games. Kenya was ranked third in 1988 Olympics in South Korea with 7 medals being four gold, two silver and a bronze while in 2008 Beijing Olympics ranking 13with 14 medals of six gold, four silver and four bronze.

“We should congratulate them for trying and I don’t see any need of lamenting because it was our third best performances unlike other participation in Olympic Games.

Expectations were high but I don’t know what happened but that doesn’t mean that we should condemn them.” Sang said.


Ann Keino

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