19 October 2017

Kenya: Stadium Works Affect Athletes' Nyeri Training

Professional athletes have complained of difficult training conditions at the Ruring'u Stadium in Nyeri as heavy machinery engaged in the stadium's renovation works have left them with no alternative for track sessions.

The trucks are ferrying soil from the stadium that is being excavated in the Sh250 million upgrade project and have forced the runners to call off training at the stadium which has been left with deep trenches after a heavy downpour in the area.

"We cannot continue training under these conditions. We are competing with heavy, smoking lorries that leave huge trails of dust behind, making our training difficult," said 10-kilometre road runner Paul Gitau.

They say their efforts to convince the drivers to avoid the running track and use an alternative route have fallen on deaf ears.

In some instances, the athletes have to give way or stop training altogether to avoid speeding lorries on the running track with some nonchalant drivers stopping in the middle of the track either to make calls or to speak with their colleagues.

The runners have either to put up with the situation or move to other counties since Ruring'u is the only running track in Nyeri on which they can do their speed work. Other stadiums in the county, namely Karatina, Gichira, Mweiga and Othaya, cannot be used for speed work since they do not have proper running tracks.

The contractor at Ruring'u, Sam Mwaniki, said he would look into the matter and see what could be done to help the athletes on an interim basis.

He spoke as Nyeri's Athletics Kenya sub-branch revealed plans to provide local runners with standard training programmes and coaching assistance to help improve their local and international prospects.


In addition, the sub-branch said it would seek to reclaim the Ruring'u Stadium sports hostels.

In a statement, branch secretary Daniel Gachara said that the programmes would cater for seasoned and upcoming runners.

"We are drafting a professional programme that will take care of different events and ages as we aim to field more Nyeri athletes in many local competitions," said Gachara.

The statement came two weeks after the AK's Central branch, through its chairman, who is also the Nyeri Deputy Governor Mutahi Kahiga, announced plans to revive the Nyeri Half Marathon competition.

If implemented, this will be the first time Nyeri runners will enjoy a common programme crafted through the AK office.


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