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AK Control

The year 2007 was ushered in this week with some good news when distance ace Eliud Kipchoge broke the 10km road world record by eight seconds! A marvellous feat indeed, which should have elicited excitement and renewed hope in Kenyan athletics.

However, Athletics Kenya had to put a damper on things with a few announcements that do not bode well for athletes and athletics in general.

AK secretary David Okeyo’s ultimatum for all athletes to register by March coupled with tough measures aimed at limiting the number of road races and athletic clubs in the country makes no sense.

Control participation

The reasons given were unbelievable and trivial, saying it would help the association trace athletes when they were required for any assignment and control their participation in international meetings.

Understandably, athletes around the country are outraged and rightly so. Most of them feel that AK are intimidating them by the order to register by March without a plausible reason and especially when it is not a priority.

Already AK have the list of most top athletes registered through their agents and representatives and can trace the athletes with ease through them.

Therefore, the issue of licensing, seemingly without any benefit to them, is sinister to most athletes who feel AK are trying to reap where they have not sown.

The directive is quite vague on what it really aims to achieve as there are no clear guidelines on which athletes should be licensed.

Where do they draw the line on what type of runner to be licensed, as there are athletes from the primary school level to the casual runner?

Are there any fees to be paid? If so, what will the money be used for?

These and many other queries ought to have been clarified to make a clear judgment on this decision.

The thorny issue of camps and clubs is one that AK must tread carefully on. Since the camps develop and nurture the bulk of Kenya’s world famous athletes without the assistance of the federation, foresight and care must be taken on how to handle the camps.

AK must not generalise issues regarding camps given the level of investment put into them. A

A framework is needed to guide the burgeoning number of camps in the country, however most are just groups of athletes getting together to train without much support or the infrastructure of a proper camp. AK ought to lead by example and set up their own camp which should serve as a model for the rest.

The directive to limit the number of road races in the country is frankly, ridiculous!

This coming up in a crucial year when the numbers of athletes will reach an all-time high partly due to Kenya hosting the World cross-country Championships. More, not less, races are needed at this time and AK should be encouraging more local participation in these races.

Sadly, this directive will only serve to disillusion rather than protect, the athletes from progressing as lessening competitive opportunities will deny many a chance to earn their daily bread and achieve their sporting goals.

Whatever Athletics Kenya envisioned their New Year’s resolutions would achieve, obviously had not thought them through. The repercussions of the already unpopular decisions are bound to affect such great numbers of athletes not only by what was meant to be conveyed, but also in how it was delivered. Such important pronouncements need prior consultations with athletes, both current and retired, coaches, managers etc. on how to go about tackling these important matters.

I believe that there are bigger issues that AK ought to tackle first such as youth development, support, incentives and sponsorships before trying to handle elite athlete issues. Some of which can be handled by setting up an athlete advisory committee.

Marty Post for the IAAF


  1. AK Control says:

    […] AK Control is a post from: The Kenyan Experience […]

  2. AK Control says:

    […] AK Control is a post from: The Kenyan Experience […]

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