•The camp was closed as among the measures the government has put in place to control the spread of coronavirus, serving Onchonga and the rest of the coaches with a difficult task.
• It’s not easy for them to train on their own, however badly we want them to maintain fitness — Onwonga
With sports activities still in a lull in the country, St Peter’s Keberesi Youth Camp coach Charles Onwonga says they have had a difficult challenge of ensuring Team Kenya probables to the postponed World Under Championships remain in good shape even as the wait for a new date continues.
The camp was closed owing to the government directive to suspend sporting activities in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, serving Onwonga and the rest of the coaches with a difficult task.
“At home, it is not easy to control what an athlete eats and this has put us in a difficult situation of ensuring that they do not get fat,” said Onwonga.
“We usually send training programs, mostly through their parents phones, but we are unable to monitor or control their diets since most, if not all, cannot afford a separate plate of food from that which has been served within the family set-up.”
He observed that it is also tough to monitor the athletes on a daily basis and therefore unable to establish if they are disciplined enough to follow up on the programs they are offered.
“It’s not easy for them to train on their own, however badly we want them to maintain fitness,” said Onwonga, a former Kenya Defence Forces soldier.
However, Onwonga said he has been visiting some of the athletes, whenever possible and has had positive responses for the time being.
“It has not been easy on my side either. Traversing the several areas from where these athletes come from has been an expensive undertaking. I have to use a motorbike to visit them at their homes but some are impossible to access due to the distances involved,” said Onwonga.
“It is also tough to convince parents to allow their children to focus on the programs we send them, advocating for focus on school work, especially for the candidates. While at home, the athletes are also expected to help in the various domestic chores and this sometimes leave them exhausted to train or eat into their training time.”
Onwonga was speaking when athletes from the camp received food rations and cash stipends courtesy of a partnership between Athletics Kenya and the Ministry of Sports.