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Closure of training camps adversely affect development of young talent

By David Macharia
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Athletes training in Nyandarua County Photo/PD/DAVID MACHARIA
In summary

Managers at athletics camps in Nyandarua and Laikipia counties are worried that the long stoppage of organised sporting activities is likely to affect the development of junior runners in the country.

A large number of athletes based in several training camps were sent home when Covid-19 broke out in Kenya in March after the government ordered cessation of all sporting activities to prevent the spread of the country.

Coach Francis Kamau of Esmi Training Club said budding runners need a lot of monitoring and guidance during their development period.

 Prior to stoppage of sporting activities, he had 25 runners, six of them were juniors.

Today only seven remain in the camp – four seniors and three junior runners.

“I keep in touch with those who are away to ensure they don’t stop training. I give them instructions on phone.

 “If one does not monitor the juniors closely, they can be distracted and forget about running during the long layoff,” Kamau said.

 Francis Mwaniki of Mutual Friendship in Athletics and Education (MFAE) Club said he had 47 runners before Covid-19 but now only 16 remain in the camp.

“When coronavirus was announced to have broken out in Kenya, most of the runners requested to go home.

They have remained away since then,” said Mwaniki whose camp trains mostly junior runners.

He said some of those who are away are requesting to return while those at the camp want to leave.

But the coach said either way he has refused accede to their demands because any movement is a factor of the spread of Covid-19.

“The runners who are away have becoSolomon Wachira of Chima camp says out of 50 runners, only 21 remained in the camp.

 “Most of the runners, particularly the juniors, went back home when Covid-19 broke out.

Some of those who remained either did not have homes to go to because they are orphans or are senior runners who wished to continue training away from home,” Wachira said.

Wachira admitted that most of the camps will not realise 100 percent residency when the camps re-open.

“Already some of the runners who went home are no longer picking up phones and we consider such runners as having abdicated,” he said.