For a nation lately bombarded by gloom and a prospect of difficult economic environment looming, yesterday’s jaw-dropping display by our runners in the Berlin Marathon, sent a bolt of positivity and an avalanche of warm feelings coursing through the country.
True, Kenyan runners have over decades proved peerless from middle to long distance running, incorporating cross country and marathon, but yesterday, Berlin was, in its entirety, a superlative affair.
The clean-sweep by the men with a world record to boot, at the feet of imperious Eliud Kipchoge and first to the tape in women’s race by Gladys Cherono, was a performance that will reignite debate about these things being wired in Kenyans’ DNA!
Given the massive global coverage such events command, Kenyans are rightly bristling with pride stirred by the flag and national anthem. Our runners have proved inspirational, delivered on expectations while remaining exemplary ambassadors. But the best part is the way their performance invokes unmistakable oneness.
The achievements are painstakingly constructed on foundations of discipline and hard work. Short cuts will not do and that is why we challenge the Kenya Athletics Association (KAA) to do everything they can to ensure our runners are clean.
Claims of drug abuse lately swirling around some of them must swiftly be looked into and breaches promptly dealt with. Our hard earned and glittering legacy must not be stained by people lured by short cuts to glory and riches. KAA must institute measures which deal with prevailing ignorance gaps among runners so they restrict themselves to the straight and narrow.
There are yet other challenges which being at the top must not distort or make us gloss over. Kenya last year hosted a hugely successful Under 17 International Athletics Championship but which had stains to put it mildly; a massive fiddling amounting to Sh1.7 billion being unearthed by the Auditor General. Such drawbacks discolour the success story of our athletes.
Goodwill resonates and this country has yet again been picked to host the Under 20 championships on the basis of Under 17 success. Its a badge of honour we must handle with utmost responsibility for where ethics and discipline buckle, gains such as Berlin and hosting major international athletics meets face threats.
As a sporting power, the inadequacy of our facilities must be addressed. But all said and done, kudos to Kipchoge who through exertion and discipline has made the Berlin marathon dream a sparkling reality. You have made us proud.