Achieving Olympic glory-Kenya's missing link

Achieving Olympic glory-Kenya's missing link

Achieving Olympic glory-Kenya's missing link

As we embark on the final week of the London 2012, it has dawned on Kenyans that this summer games will not be as memorable as Beijing 2008 where our athletes hit new heights and dominated the middle-long distance races. With only a single Gold medal in the Men's 3000m Steeplechase bagged so far, Kenya is pinning its medal hopes on 800m World Record Holder David Rudisha and in the Men's Marathon to salvage what little is left of our sporting pride.

The critical question that Kenyans keep asking is; what happened to our world beating athletes? Don’t they dominate the IAAF Golden League meets? Don't our Men and Women road runners dominate the world’s best marathon competitions regularly?

I will try to answer these questions by posing a question of my own; what do other nations do right when approaching The Olympics that we did wrong? How can inferior athletes in the mould of Mohamed Farah and Galen Rupp win Gold and Silver respectively? How could the number one  ranked Women's road runner Mary Keitany perform so miserably in the world’s biggest stage?

1. Cutting Edge Technology

Competitive sports have been taken to a whole new level through cutting edge technology where athletes take every possible scientific performance advantage to avoid excess stress or strain that can lead to injury and diminish peak performance.

Biokinetics, is the new buzzword that has hit the Athletics worlds. This is where technology helps athletes measure and monitor their human force measurements by isolating small, key differences that can be used in training programs to produce performance gains. Athletic performance is influenced by individual biagenics - genetics that influence the dominate pathways between power, strength and speed. By measuring and adjusting natural tendencies, athletes get the edge to dominate their field.

When an athlete steps off the force plate of the machine after performing dynamic movements vertically, horizontally and laterally, the device provides a nervous-system blueprint of how the athlete moves, detailing where the athlete' weaknesses lie" says Dr. Phil Wagner, a leading proponent and sports scientist.

According to Mr. Julius Nyagah, the President of the Kenya Society of Physiotherapist and proprietor of The Mullighan Rehab Clinic, the main problems afflicting our Athletes is a combination of poor/outdated training methods and a lack of cutting edge technology to accurately Identify, measure, and track key performance variables to fine tune training programs so that our athletes hit their peak at the right time.

In the developed world, these technologies are used widely including high school and collegiate levels. Isn't it time the Kenya Government in conjunction with Athletics Kenya invest in these technologies?

2. Olympic Programs

Sports as has been witnessed in Kenya are a major source of national pride and unity. When our national anthem echoes in the Olympic stadium and beamed in millions of households’ worldwide our national pride soars and elevates our sense of unity.

Luckily, Kenya has been blessed with Athletes with the right genetics to dominate Track and Field from 400 metres all the way to the Marathon. Kenya has the potential of winning 12-14 Gold medals in Track and Field. All we need is a little planning and resource allocation from the Government.

Our government through the Ministry of Sport need to establish a Department of Elite Development (DED) charged with the responsibility of training and nurturing our future stars in a four year cycle revolving around the Olympics.

Our junior athletes have dominated the last 2 major youth championships and the best among these athletes can be enrolled into the Olympic program headed by the DED. What will be the role of the DED?

  1. Full financial support for the Elite athletes’ including salaries, housing and training gear.
  2.  Physicians
  3. Physical Therapists
  4. Nutritionists
  5. Orthopaedic Surgeons
  6. Qualified Athletics Trainer
  7.  Strength and Conditioning Coach
  8. Sports Psychologists.
  9. Cutting edge performance measuring equipment.

Our Government has the ability to fund these kinds of programs and can only start with a total of 50 athletes in various disciplines and scale it upwards over a period of time.

We have at our disposal dedicated athletes with the correct genes and all that is missing is our governments dedication in achieving Sporting Excellence.

Omar Yusuf is a sports enthusiast.You can read more on his blog The Mind Hunter

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