On Jubilee and the pledges to Kenyan Sports

This post is little late, but be that as it may, here are a bunch of reflections on The Jubilee government’s fulfillment of the pledges it made towards sports in Kenya. On the whole this side of the government has been on the whole less controversy ridden than; say the laptops for class 1 pupils, or the standard gauge railway.

Also unlike in other sectors, many of the pledges actually depend on the competency of bodies that have some independence from government influence, so their success or failure, can not entirely be up to the Jubilee Government. Without much ado, here we go.

First and foremost, a recap of the pledges that Jubilee made on the campaign trail. I cannot claim to recall everything they pledged so I will focus on the flagship promises. These were: the pledge to construct 5 stadia all over the country, a promise to deliver the World Athletics Championships, the Africa Cup of Nations the restoration of the Safari Rally to the World Rally Circuit, and the pledge to build youth development centres in all counties

I’ll start with the pledge to bring all sorts of international competitions in various sports to Kenya. Right of the bat, Kenya’s bid to get the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was virtually sunk by the Football Kenya Federation, not bothering to actually submit a bid until one month past the deadline.To save face, they went for and got right to host the 2018 CHAN event instead.

Now to actually put together a credible (and I do not mean we somehow survived to the end one piece credible) event. Also I am hoping they give the ‘Dick Berg type ‘sports event promoters’ a wide berth and give us an open, transparent show.

And the Winner in the Tenderpreneurship relay event is…
(From Gadocartoons.net)

Off the football pitch, and on to the athletics track, it turns out, that you sort of have to build up towards hosting the IAAF’s flagship events (like the World Athletics Championships, by cutting your teeth with lesser events. Parable of the coins, he who was faithful with five dinarii shall be put in charge of 5 cities and all that.

So in keeping with that, Kenya will first aim to host the 2017 World Youth Championships. Nairobi’s competition will come from Buenos Aires, and Greensboro city in the USA, we hope the bidding team show some passion to convince the IAAF honchos to gives us the games.

As for the World Rally Championships, the Safari Rally was tossed out because of issues surrounding money guarantees, and tracks being properly closed off from wild animals, traffic etc) and so on. From the government side there has been very little noise, SO FAR, on the actualisation of a bid to restore the Safari rally and from the way the KNRC continues to face issues with stray traffic, pedestrians etc on its domestic rallies, it seems we still have work to do on that end also.

As for the pledge to construct 5 state-of-the-art stadia, there has been much more traction in this area. The sceptic in me would like clarification on just what ‘state-of-the-art’ is supposed to amount to. The most recent noise on that end has been the announcement by sports cabinet secretary Hassan Wario, that construction of these ‘state-of-the-art’ stadia will commence next year. Several County governments, both Jubilee and CORD controlled have done some renovations to their dilapidated municipal stadiums, so there is that

As for the youth centres, I’ll assume that they are also in the pipeline somewhere.

All in all, One year down the line and aside from the AFCON debacle, which with hindsight the sports ministry should have seen coming, its been steady as she goes. I would issue a grade but most of these pledges are mid to long term projects, which will take time to implement.

Daegu Countdown Episode 3

 Last week Kenya’s team to the IAAF World championships was chosen and the National Athletics Championships trials. Also selected was the team to represent Kenya at the All Africa games in September this year.
This episode is about the 5000m and 10,000m events. These two races feature possibly the most intense; definitely most underappreciated nation rivalries in the world of sport. Kenya and Ethiopia between them own the bulk of the world champions at these distances over the past two decades and the Daegu World Championships will be dominated by races from these two countries. Anyway, Kenya currently holds both Championships in the women’s races whilst Ethiopia has the men’s world Champion at the 10k? So who will be carrying Kenya’s hopes this time around?
Kenya has not had much joy in this event largely down to the joint efforts of a certain Kenenisa Bekele. Not to mention a certain Bernard Lagat. Kenya’s entries in this event are: Isaiah Kiplangat, Thomas Longosiwa, Eliud Kipchoge. Being the last Kenyan to win this title I’m gonna tip Eliud Kipchoge as the most likely guy to do the needful for Kenya.
Women’s Champion Vivian Cheruiyot will be joined by the 10K champion Linet Masai. Logically then these are my tips for gold, though the young Mercy Cherono, I reckon, is fully capable of, how do you say… pulling a fast one.
Like in the men’s 5k, Kenya has not had much joy over the last few world championships largely down to the deadly finishing prowess of our neighbours to the north. This year’s trials saw Peter Kirui, Wilson Kiprop and Martin Mathathi came through and it will down to the three of them to come together and beat the Ethiopians on the day. My tip for gold is Wilson Kiprop.
Like in the 5k, Kenya comes to Daegu represented by the reigning world champion, this time in the form of Linet Masai. Despite that fact, this blogger is going to go a bit left field to suggest that Sally Kipyego, the woman who actually won Kenya’s national championships, to win the day for Kenya.
In the next edition of this series of posts I take a look at the marathons. Now despite ruling the city marathons with an iron fist (38 victories in 42 starts in 2010 if I remember correctly) Kenya’s medal tally at World Championships is…sparse. More in the next episode so till next time…

Daegu preview Episode 2

 In this episode we look at the 3000m steeplechase.  Kenyan athletes took over in the men’s event 1968 Olympics and have pretty much never let go of since. Failure to capture this title would no less than represent total disaster. The women’s event ion the other hand is far much younger, coming up at major championships only in the last decade or so and already with the likes of Milcah Chemos and Mercy Njoroge dominance in this event looks like it is becoming another all Kenyan affair

In the men’s race, this blogger expects the flamboyantEzekiel Kemboi to defend his crown but not without competition from the likes of Brimin Kipruto. 

In the women’s race its very hard to look past the metronomically consistent Milcah Chemos, yet the last Diamond league event shows at the very leats sheell have to be on top form right the way through to the end

Next episode of this Daegu preview, I look at the long distance events and the marathon. Here we see a long standing rivalry between Kenya and Ethopia that has come to define the World Chamiponships, Olympis and ind eed any major track event with these participating nations since the 1980s.

Daegu countdown: Episode 1

   The World Athletics Championships are almost here and in this series of build up articles this blogger will run through a preview of who he reckons will be the most likely bets to win gold medals and be on the news sippin on Kenya’s finest Grade 1 Mursik. As usual I expect Athletics Kenya will state their intentions as topping the overall medals table, but in reality we have not cultivated the infrastructure to breed real world class sprint and field athletes. We are more likely to dominate in the usual middle and long distance events from 800m to 10 000m, the marathon and perhaps get one or two runners in the finals of the 400m.In this piece I’ll look at the ‘middle distance’ track events (800m, and 1500m). The steeplechase will get its own mention later.  
  There are really only three words that can be use to describe the men’s event. David Lekuta Rudisha. This blogger first became aware of this athlete in the build up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. However injury and a number of set backs, including injury, meant that it was not until last year that he really began to deliver on the promise he had shown in early 2008. Two world records later and this year’s fastest time so far mean he is the runaway favourite for gold in this event. However, that does not mean that the field is gonna let him win so easily.  Boaz Lalang has shown the kind of pace it takes to possibly push Rudisha all the way and its never wise ruling out Olympic champion Alfred Kirwa Yego. The biggest non-Kenyan challenge will be South Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki and South Africa’s Mbulaune Mulaudzi (sp). Actually this blogger would like to see Kaki and Rudisha on the same track for once this season.
In the women’s event things are looking much less obvious. Even though in theory, Kenya has the defending Olympic Champion and former World champion who might possibly compete in this event, neither has looked much more than lukewarm over the past season or so. This blogger tips Janeth Jepkosgei to come good when the chips are down and get past the likes of Caster Semenya and bring home the gold. 
There’s loads of competition among Kenyan 1500m runners this year. Then again there’s always competition. Though some of the usual suspects have spent the bulk of the season running 800m this blogger largely expects they will switch back ton 1500m for the championships. Note this is more a hunch than actual ‘insider information.’  So if that is the case then I expect Kenya’s challenge for gold will be largely between the ‘veteran’ 2008 Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop and this year’s sensation Nixon Chepseba.
In the women’s race, I reckon Kenya’s best bets are the Nancy Jebet Langat.and Irene Jelagat
In the next episode of we look at the 3000m steeplechase I mean sure Kenya may be firm favourites to win this but exactly who’s in top form to take the gold