Kenyans' travel ban

AK bans athletes from races before the World Championship

By Gilbert Wandera

Athletics Kenya (AK) have said no athlete will be allowed to compete anywhere before the World Championships in Osaka, Japan next month.

AK Secretary General David Okeyo said all athletes would stay in camp until the team departs to Osaka on August 20.

"We will not allow any athlete to compete anywhere before the world championships so that they maintain their form during the championship," Okeyo said at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday after the national trials.

It is not clear whether athletes will stay in camp as some have a habit of sneaking out for races in Europe prior to any major championships and any effort by AK to stop them has always failed.

Okeyo also announced that the team goes to camp on August 1 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Among the big names missing in the list is current 5,000m world champion Benjamin Limo who did not even compete in the trials on Saturday.

Sports Minister Maina Kamanda speaking after Saturday’s trials said the Government will reward athletes who excel in the championships.

There’s no way the Kenyan Govt will reward the athletes with anything like what they’ll loose missing meets and who says that the meets aren’t part of their prep. If there is any sort of plan, it would have been set up from Sept last year and could not have forseen this.
We’ll see what happens.

Why would they do that?

Conversely what happens if they expected athletes to compete but the athlete doesn’t wish too.

Also they may not get there best athletes going to Osaka because they lose there money

This is an age-old game they play in Kenya. When they don’t win every medal from 80-0 to marathon, they say it is because of the evil agents (and some of them certainly are that) who run the Kenyans around the circuit to win money, but that this leaves them tired and lacking in strength base.

Some of the Kenyan suits want their athletes to do things the way they did in 1968: stay in a training camp in Kenya and then magically they will all be so much fitter that they will top the medals count.

But the reality for many is that in the Kenyan team camp there is no dispensation to vary training for the individual, that the training can be ridiculously tough and the rehab minimal, resulting in some fabulous athletes breaking down injured due to the change in workloads/intensity and the lack of medical support that the better agents try to provide.

The Kenyan hierarchy often also forget that while it is expedient for them to play the blame game and demonise agents, many of the athletes would never have attained the level of performance that has brought them to the attention of the Kenyan authorities had they not trained and raced in Europe (in particular).

But essentially it is a control trip which has backfired in the past and will probably do so again this year.

I wonder what the story is with Comm Games 5000 champion Augustine Choge, who was going to concentrate on the 1500m for Osaka trials. I heard he was fine before returning to Kenya recently.

Since the Kenyan authorities so clearly “have the interests of the athletes in mind”, I wonder how they reconcile this concern with sending thugs to beat the athletes in order to confiscate their passports the way they did in Rome in 1987? As they say in Aus: They’re a bunch of thievin magpies!

creative massage therapy prehaps?