Team to Olympics must soul-search

Monday, August 2nd, 2021 00:00 | By
A man sits at a bus stop in front of an advertisement for the Tokyo Olympics. Photo/AFP

The Olympics have always been precious to Kenya. Being the biggest sporting event in the world - bigger than the world championships and the football world cup - the Summer Games is the dream of any sports person and countries exploit it as a platform to showcase their talent.

Countries take a lot of pride in participating in the Games and most important winning medals at the highest level of sports competition.

This explains why Bermuda’s President Edward David Burt called for a public holiday when Flora Duffy won the nation’s first ever-gold medal at an Olympics.

Duffy won the women individual triathlon competition last week for a nation that has a population of 63,000.

For Kenya, a country that has always been used to grace the podium medal awards ceremonies at the Games, this time things don’t seem to be very rosy.

By this time during the last Olympic Games in Rio five years ago, Kenya was already in the medal table with three silver medals, in the 400m hurdles thanks to Boniface Mucheru, Paul Tanui finishing second in the 10,000m men race and another silver medal from Julius Yego in the javelin competition.

This time the narrative is different and local athletics enthusiasts are still waiting with bated breath for the country’s first medal at the Tokyo Games.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics Games, Team Kenya registered one of the best performances in history, bagging six gold medals, six silver medals and one bronze medal, despite the challenges the team experienced attributable to poor preparations before the games and lack of training kits and equipment.

As the Games approach the climax, it is now clear that Team Kenya may not match the performance of 2016 outing.

This is despite the fact that they had better preparation carrying the hopes of the country with them.

From a six-week-closed door training with all necessary equipment to a high-profile training camp in Kurume, Japan which was meant to help the athletes acclimatise, the athletes do not have an excuse for poor performance.

Allowances were also paid upfront and the kit this time was not a problem, however, all these are yet to translate into medals.

As the competition enters its final stretch this week, the athletes’ medal tally from this year’s Olympics should be a moment of reflection on management of our sport. 

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