James Magayi @magayijim
The inaugural Kenya Army Athletics Championships concluded yesterday at Kasarani Stadium following an ambitious two-day track and field extravaganza in which reigning World Half Marathon record holder Joyceline Chepkosgei and veteran steeplechase runner Abel Mutai showcased their prowess.
The proactive and ambitious jamboree inaugurated this year by Kenya Army is a counter measure for the Air Force and Navy wings of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) that have outshone the more populated ground troops in athletics. Some of the more acclaimed athletes like Helen Obiri emanate from Kenya Air Force and the Army hopes to lure dormant talents within its ranks to competitive athletics and inspire them to global stardom.
“This is a very good step in the right direction for the populous arm of KDF. There is plenty of talent lying unutilised and we can only wake them up by stirring them with such events.
We gave notice to this event early enough and athletes had ample time to get in shape. If they continue with serious training they will be better placed to grab top positions in KDF Championships where a team to represent the force will be selected for Athletics Kenya (AK) National Championships,” veteran coach Julius Kirwa said Uncertainty however, shrouds the future of the championship hailed as positive as funding for its subsequent editions is not guaranteed.
“A lot of athletes are said to be losing their spark in KDF so we are now in a position to recruit talents and keep them active with such programme. I don’t know if the Navy or Air Force will also do the same but this is commendable,” he said.
In women 10,000m, Chepkosgei warmed to a sluggish 34:52.4 victory ahead of Penina Kandie who took silver in 35:07.4 as Jackline Chirchir completed the podium in 35:30.0.