A commonwealth games Primer, for y’all

Well they are here, and they kind of snuck up on me this round! The club games are set to start in Glasgow, and as usual Kenya has sent a large contingent of track and field athletes looking to continue the gold medal rush from 2010. Believe it or not Kenya has 8 (yes eight!) representatives in the lawn bowls competition!

Anyway this post will start with the stuff Kenya is more known for and drift towards the not so known stuff. So we start with the track, and field events, and the middle and long distance events. This is what Kenya is widely known for as a sporting house all over the world. To the point everyone from spoof energy drink adverts to the Muppets has played on the ‘Kenyans are good at running’ idea.

apparently… ( source: chzbgr.com)

I digress. The bulk of Kenya’s gold medals at the Club games have come on the back of dominating all the track events from 800 metres to the marathon. With the absence of some of the sprint powerhouses (USA) we have even won the odd medal at the 400 metres events.

This round a lot of the usual suspects will be at the Glasgow event. The headliners are obviously David Rudisha (current world record holder) at the 800m, Silas Kiplagat in the men’s 1500m, as well as Milcah Chemos a perennial force in the women’s steeplechase event.

They lead a host of names who have built a name for themselves among something of a ‘golden generation’ for Kenyan athletics in track events all over the world in the past decade in particular. Did you know that only one non-Kenyan has won a medal of any kind in the men’s steeplechase at the club games since 1994?

In addition to them there are the upcoming talents of Jarius Birech (who has dominated in this year’s diamond league events) and Mercy Cherono.
In the field event, perhaps Julius Yego, the YouTube man could deliver on his immense promise and medal. He has a top 3 finish in diamond league, so I will be keeping an eye on that.

Then there is boxing. Kenya has a tradition in producing high quality of amateur boxers that have scored medals on a regular basis, at commonwealth and other global competitions (RIP Robert Wangila). However with several decades of neglect, even downright cynical exploitation of boxers, the idea of a Kenya boxer, medalling at these games would be more a welcome relief than a serious expectation. This year’s squad features young men who have shown some fight ‘pun intended’ at international competition.

There is lot of expectation (they have a nice hype machine) being placed on Kenya’s rugby sevens squad. Not surprising because of how they have delivered beyond rational expectations on several occasions, against the world’s best on the IRB circuit, but also because they are generally the most well ordered team sport administration in Kenya behind them.

However, whereas, in some vents (LOOKING AT YOU TRACK AND FIELD) the commonwealth games can be said to be a dilution of talent, on the rugby field it’s more like a concentration of the best in the field. New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, England, South Africa, all have very well funded fully professional rugby machinery behind their teams, not to mention the hosts Scotland are no slouches at rugby.

In the Jason Dunford swimming event, Kenya has a host of fresh young talent, who this blogger hopes will be more than just escorting the Dunford men to gold medal glory.

Some months ago a certain South African minister insinuated that Kenya (or countries like Kenya send swimmers out to global competitions to drown in the pool. Now is the chance to tell Hon Mbalula with actions as well as words where he can go put his words.

On to the lesser known events I spoke of ‘fighting’ earlier in this post Kenya will also have representation in the Judo, event, for the first time in 12? Years, there will be Kenyans in the triathlon ands well as in the road and mountain biking events.

Maybe there is another Chris Froome in the making? These events may to the casual (read cynical) fan seem to be excess baggage on the road, but with a bit of vision just being there may be the beginning our nation becoming really good at the global stage. As the good book says, plant both in the morning and in the evening, for you do not know which will produce a harvest (or something like that)

Anyway in wrapping up this post, I want to wish the men and women flying the flag all the best, timely allowances and kits and mostly that the record haul of medals in Delhi 2010 may be surpassed.

Kenya XV’s Latest Adventure

By Now you have probably heard. In fact as I write this blog, the boys should already be knee deep into their 1st match of the pool stage. Kenya XVs quest for progress and relevance has taken them to Cape Town, where they will be contesting the Vodacom Cup as the Tusker Simba XV

This is the latest of numerous interventions done with the dream of Kenya making her maiden appearance at the Rugby World Cup. Or at least show some of the breakthroughs that have been witnessed at the more successful 7s national team.

There have been several promises to bring over 2nd tier nations from Europe and South America that did not work out. There was the Elgon Cup, which grew into the Victoria Cup before collapsing in  heap. There has also been the on off participation in the Junior World rugby TrophyThis was t the international level

At the club level there is the Bamburi Rugby Super Series, which goes from strength to strength, as well as efforts to grow the kenya Cup-Eric Shirley Shield and the Enterprise Cup.

All these driven by the quest to get the XVs team to catch up with with the level of growth that the Sevens lads have seen.

This intervention, on the other hand is a whole different approach. The Vodacom Cup is a South African Competitiobn that as far as I know is essentially a finishing school fro Rugby players en route to the wonderful world of Super Rugby, Tri-Nations and all the glory that goes with it.

The gist of Kenya’s participation, is that the several week of grueling competition will prepare the team mentally and cohesionally (hiyo ni neno?) to finally pip Namibia to that Africa slot. Is this a long term thing or a once off entry?

I guess we will find out with time. Meanwhile I should be googleing scores, no?

Kuchotewa Nayo?

A couple of hours ago, Kenya’s national football team came within 1 1/2 minutes of pulling off their first ever win over Nigeria’s Super Eagles. As it was, a injury time equalizer means the final score was 1-1. Kenya now have 2 points from 3 games in their World Cup Qualifier group whilst Nigeria have 5.

Granted the result is very small in the bigger picture of Kenya’s World cup qualifying hopes, within of itself it is still an achievement worth noting. After all Nigeria are the reigning champions of Africa. Over the past few hours the leading lights in Kenyan politics have been pouring money on this team with the likes of Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga and even Nairobi Senator elect, Gideon Mbuvi alias Sonko taking to social media to declare their acts of outrageous generosity to Harambee Stars.

The question in my head just now is haven’t we been here before? From Harambee Stars to Conjestina Achieng to our national cricket team and several others, this blogger has witnessed all manner of monied types in Kenyan society going out there way to be seen to be generous to some sports person or team while the getting is good, only to vanish without a trace when said team suffers a few bad results. Don’t all sports teams and athletes everywhere go through patches of poor form from time to time? This blogger understands that several politicians in the current mad rush of goodies belong to the Jubilee Coalition that won the last general elections, and that their manifesto has all manner of commitments regarding long term investment in sports. That is a post for another day. What gripes me is that if the people making policy for our sports team see them only as charity cases, to be milked for PR purposes when the occasional moment of glory or desperation allows it, can they really hope to see the kind of sound and long term interventions that make world beaters?

On a (very tongue in cheek) final note, Kenya’s 7s team are having quite the break out season on the World Series circuit and are in the Main Cup Quarter finals in Hong Kong. We’ve got a cross country team in Bydgosczc (sp?) for the world championships on Sunday morning. The same place they damn near won everything, and our cricket team just got back from Dubai, where they man handled Canada in a pair of World Cup Qualifiers and Intercontinental Cup. Any spare change for them?

TV land is not dead!

This is going to be another quick skim to remind peeps this blog is dormant and not dead so please bear with the lack of depth.

Well with all the hype about local content on TV dramas and soaps (see the papa shirandulas and the Makutano junctions of this world) I figured I would put my two cents on what has caught my eye on the Sports side of things. That boils down to two sports magazine shows that I saw for the first time over the course off last week. Simba Super Soccer on KBC and Scrum Down on Citizen

Scrum Down (Saturday 11:00am, Citizen TV)

Just launched, these guys certainly promised alot and fro0m their first show, they certainly delivered. Them hosts certaibly have a captivating ppositive veibe that I reckon would cause most channel surferes to stop and take another look. I was especially impressed by the segement where they profiled legends of the game

Simba Super Soccer (Thursday 7:30?pm, KBC

The angry cynic in me wants to say that this is Supersports way of tossing a few crumbs at KBC for taking away live KPL matches just when they were beginning tio be interesting again. Nonetheless, unlike any other talk show on KBC, the people who put this together actually made an effort to make the thing aesthetically pleasing. Well done to the production team! They could really spice things up in the analysis by bringing in some former Harambee Stars veteran to give the insider perspective.

Anyway, the time on this cyber cafe’s computer say’s i’ve run up a huge bill so, till later…

Real quickie…

Been back in Kenya since mid July and figures i would post a quick one regards to the brief time online and to dust a few of the old cobwebs accumulating on this blog page.

First of all I am on twitter where i have been busy (@sportinkenya) so you can follow me there.

This will be a quick run through all the major events in Kenyan sports in the past month and a half.

The cricket team did well to pick up and away draw in Ireland and a comprehensive win against Canada in the Intercontinental Cup but put the ODI form esp with the increasingly frequent batting collapses is a major cause for concern

FKL should do better that organizing friendly matches on inconvenient dates in dubiously opaque situations. having friendlies at at all is a good thing but Mr Hey and co on the Harambee stars bench need to have more access to all their players so it would make sense to put the games on FIFA allocated dates to guarantee they are all available.

KPL season reaching its climax and Sofapaka have come from nowhere to not only rule the roost on top of the table but they are setting standards money wise. Old timers like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards take note…

AK did us all proud with the third place finish at the IAAF World championships but surely How is it we could not produce a single athlete in any of the field events needs to be investigated. Can’t we even find a single championship quality long jumper at the very least

The Elgon Cup concludes this weekend and prospects for its future and in the balance money wise. Surely what are KRFU doing with Safari sevens that cannot be replicated in the Elgon Cup?

On Boxing Conjestina Achieng is back in the ring good times…

And finally to Cricket Kenya. WAPI HIYO ELITE LEAGUE?

Injera off to SA.

Following an epic season in the IRB seven, Kenya’s very own Collins Injera is one step away from becoming Kenya’s first representative in one of the most prestigious club Rugby union tournaments operating today, the Super 14.

According to the Daily Nation, Collo will be in South Africa, for what is being described as a ‘settling in’ period with Western Province, a team which provides the bulk of players in, the Super 14 franchise, The Western Stormers. The team, also operates in South Africa’s Currie Cup

here are a few of Injera’s better moments on the rugby field

This blogger would like to wish him all the best with his venture