•1973 Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion Fatwel Kimaiyo believes that lack of modern training facilities is responsible for Kenya's poor performance in sprints
•He has urged county governments, Ministry of Sports and AK to invest in modern facilities to improve standards of the sport
•Kimaiyo also urged modern sprinters to train naturally and avoid the temptation to dope
Kenya's poor performance in sprints is because of lack of modern facilities to enable talented sprinters compete well at the international level, former Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion Fatwel Kimaiyo believes.
Kimaiyo, who also competed in 400m, says sprint giants like the United States prosper because of modern training equipment.
“Americans have taken over because we lack training facilities unlike them. We have good sprinters and so AK and the Ministry of Sports should establish camps in low areas, where we can get and train good sprinters as a country,” Kimaiyo said.
He bemoaned that most talented sprinters in the country are forced to use lacklustre facilities, such as murram tracks for their training, which subsequently disadvantages them on an international stage.
"If you go to Europe, modern tracks are all over and there are no murram tracks. I want to urge county and the national governments to build more training facilities to enable Kenya shine in sprints,” Kimaiyo reiterated.
Kimaiyo's chequered career also includes competing in the 1972 Summer Olympics (Munich), 1973 All-Africa Games (Lagos), 1978 All-Africa Games (Algiers) and 1975 Afro Latin Games.
At the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, he ran in 13.69 to clinch gold, which stands as the national record to date. He also triumphed at the 1973 All-Africa Games.
However, he picked an injury and failed to defend his Commonwealth title and his injury took long to heal.
Reflecting on his career, Kimaiyo pointed out the stark differences between the past and the present.
“For me, I used to train alone. Even while at home, I used to be serious in my training and that is why I shone in the hurdles. I would like to advise young sprinters that they should train and avoid doping. Right now, I am still physically strong because I ran naturally," Kimaiyo said.
Kimaiyo was among athletes that were affected when Africa boycotted the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.
“I was so fit to win the title but the boycott affected my preparations. I was so good,” said Kimaiyo, who competed with Kimaru Songok, the 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles national champion, said.
He also ran with the late Julius Sang from Prison, Ben Kandie, Kipchoge Keino, Amos Biwott, Mike Boit, Cherono Maiyo and Tecla Chemabwai Sang among others.