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National athletics coach decries lack of competitions

By Amos Abuga
Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Kenya’s national athletics head coach Julius Kirwa. Photo/PD/SPORTPICHA
In summary

As debate continues whether the 2020 Diamond League season will indeed get underway in under two weeks, national athletics head coach Julius Kirwa is worried that without competition, it will be difficult to gauge the preparedness of athletes.

The veteran tactician says it is through competitions like the Diamond League that most countries are able to tell whether their athletes are ready for major events.

And even if the Monaco Diamond League does go on on August 14, Kirwa is worried that Kenyan athletes might  still not get clearance to enter Europe in time for the competition.

“We are all excited that finally we might be gearing up for a return to track and field after such a long time, but unfortunately the protocols issued to curb the spread of the coronavirus are tough and athletes are not exempted,” said Kirwa.

The first Diamond League meeting which had been scheduled for April 17 in Doha, Qatar, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“You see athletics camps across the country were shut down forcing  athletes training individually without direct contact with their coaches. 

That is tough than perceived, but, generally, I am happy with the manner the athletes have conducted themselves,” he added.

With most major competitions planned for this year, such as the Tokyo Olympics, now postponed to 2021, Kirwa said it is a delicate balancing act as they prepare athletes for events.

Other events moved to 2021 include both the Africa Cross Country Championships, Africa Senior Athletics Championships and the World Cross Country Championships. 

“From now until next year, every event our athletes will take part in will be very important for them and the coaches.

As coaches, we will assess how our athletes will be responding when normalcy resumes,” said Kirwa.

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