'YES WE CAN DO IT'

AK, state should use Birmingham exploits as stepping stone — Keino

He said the fact that Kenya failed to win marathon or 10,000m titles speaks volumes of Omanyala's 100m feat.

In Summary

•He said Omanyala's feat is special moment for Kenya considering he had had to fight off  the World Championships ‘ghosts’ to  perform.

•Keino, however, said it is not just enough to be inspired, particularly for the sprints, which is more technical than middle and long distance events.

Mike Mokamba, Hesbon Ochieng, Samuel Imeta and Ferdinand Omanyala during the 4x100m relay at the Commonwealth Games
Mike Mokamba, Hesbon Ochieng, Samuel Imeta and Ferdinand Omanyala during the 4x100m relay at the Commonwealth Games
Image: NOCK MEDIA

Retired athlete Martin Keino wants the government and Athletics Kenya to invest in sprints after the great performances displayed by Kenyan sprinters at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Keino, who is the son of the legendary Kipchoge Keino, said by winning the 100m title at the Commonwealth Games, Ferdinand Omanyala had proved that the country has what it takes to succeed in short races.

"Kenya has too much talent which, if well nurtured, could make the country a powerhouse in sprints and field events," he noted.

He said the fact that Kenya failed to win marathon or 10,000m titles speaks volumes of Omanyala's 100m feat.

" It is special to have succeeded in 100m but failed to make it in some of our favourite long-distance races," he said. 

He added: "While the west is trying to infiltrate our favourite races, we have also opened a new chapter in sprints and we need to give it much focus'"

Martin Keino during our interview in his office in Eldoret.
Martin Keino during our interview in his office in Eldoret.
Image: EMMANUEL SABUNI

He said things are changing and it is time we diversified our events. " Now that we have seen what we can do in sprints, we need to take it to the next level and capitalise on Omanyala's success to inspire more upcoming athletes," he added.  

He said Omanyala's feat is a special moment for Kenya considering he had had to fight off the World Championships ‘ghosts’ to perform.

“There is a lot to learn from Omanyala considering his success is already inspiring so many young athletes who now believe it is possible.

Keino, however, said it is not just enough to be inspired, particularly for the sprints, which is more technical than middle and long-distance events.

"We need technical expertise, high-level coaches, a lot of investment particularly from the federation and the government in training, coaching and competitions for exposure,” he said.

He admitted that there are already talented young sprinters and hurdlers in the country but the difference is lack of exposure.

" We lack coaches, and facilities but Omanyla has proven it is possible.  The next step is how to target the talented athletes and expose them to various races," he added.

He said the fact that Athletics Kenya meetings can attract up 200 sprinters speaks a lot.

Kenya's 4x 400m relay team in Birmingham
Kenya's 4x 400m relay team in Birmingham
Image: FILE

"Just recently in Nairobi, we had up to 15 heats in the 100m and I believe that is huge. Before Omanyala hit the front, we were having about three heats maximum. This means we are on the right track and more athletes are getting interested in sports," he revealed.

He said this is why the federation and the government should put in more effort if we are to succeed.

He said the future looks bright for Kenya if what is happening at the World Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia is anything to go by.

“The quality of our young men is very good and I believe our future is secure when they graduate into seniors. It is good for young athletes to take on tough opposition and prove that they can compete at the global level,” he said.

Commenting on Kenya's performance at the recently concluded World Championships in Oregon, he said Kenya was not at their best yet after harvesting only two gold medals courtesy of Faith Kipyegon(women's 1500m) and Emmanuel Korir (800m).

“It was not our best and I feel we should relook at our preparation and travel ahead of Budapest next year and Tokyo (2025). To be honest,  I was disappointed on how we performed."

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star