How athletics talent thrives in Kisii County
Boruma Secondary School athletics camp has for the last two years endeavoured to carry on the spirit of producing top sprinter athletes from Kisii County in the South Nyanza region.
The camp intends to rekindle the now-defunct Mogonga PAG Secondary School camp which collapsed following the transfer of former principal Haron Onchong’a from the school. Mogonga camp produced Olympic semifinalist Mary Moraa and All Africa Games 400m hurdles champion Vanice Nyagisera among other top athletes in the recent past.
“The records are there, since 2015, we have been dominating sprints and relays up to the national level. Our biggest moment was in 2017 when our camp had nine athletes in Team Kenya for the World Under 18 Championships in Nairobi,” Onchong’a said. Following the rebuild, the camp is now eyeing about six slots in Kenya’s team for the World Under-20 Championships due in August 1-6 in Cali, Colombia.
The camp’s head coach Valentine Orare and the team coordinator, Onchong’a said the camp specialises in sprints, field events, and middle-distance races.
“There was a need to start another camp to help the many athletes who were chased out of Mogonga,” Ochong’a said.
“It is very saddening that the principal who came after me never valued sports, so the program we had started for over eight years was stopped. We simply had to get somewhere to save the talents,” Ochong’a added
Ochong’a says the athletes who missed out on last year’s World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi have vowed to make it this time when the next team for Cali is selected.
School holiday camp
“We have been training here for three weeks and during the school holiday camp, these young boys and girls are upbeat with their prospects. From my assessment, I think we can have up to six in Team Kenya for Cali,” he added.
In a recent visit to the camp, coach Orare singled out Sarah Orobi (400m), Hillary Kipsang (800m), Martha Monyenche (long jump), Simon Buro (3,000m), Alexina Boera (800m), Vane Robert (100m), Sarah Elijah (400m hurdles) and Pacifica Ongeri (javelin) as some of the talented athletes who are likely to make it to Team Kenya.
Orobi failed to make the cut during last year’s World U-20 trials after she had a false start. She is, however, buoyant that she will qualify this time.
“I’m keen to follow the footsteps of my former schoolmates Mary Moraa, Mercy Aketch, Loice Morara and Vanice Nyagisera,” she said.
Onchong’a said the camp faces a lot of challenges including lack of field equipment including shot put, discus, javelin, hurdles and landing gear.
“We have very good throwers and jumpers but we lack equipment because they are very expensive and this school can’t afford them. Some of the athletes come from poor backgrounds and they don’t have basic training gear.
I’m appealing to Athletics Kenya and other well-wishers to help us with filed implements,” said Onchong’a.
Orare trains the athletes together with former cross country and long-distance runner Phillip Mosima and Margaret Mong’are.
The official further appealed to the government to honour its pledge to construct the Nyantika Maiyoro Sports Talent Academy.
It was during the World Under-18 that sprint prodigy Mary Moraa announced her arrival to the world winning a maiden international medal, a silver in the 400m race. Moraa later represented Kenya at the Africa Under-20 championships in Ivory Coast where she won gold.