Runners want construction work on Kaptama Camp completed
Athletes training in Kaptama and Kapsokwony in Mount Elgon in Bungoma County have urged the county government to finish the construction of Kaptama High Altitude Training Camp.
Speaking during the fourth Athletics Kenya National Consultative Forum in Kaptama Monday, the athletes said they lack proper training facilities in the region, which has led to mass exodus of athletes from the area.
Newly crowned Boston Marathon champion Diana Kipyogei, Leonard Komon, Shem Kororia, Masai siblings Linet, Magdalene, Moses and Dennis are among talented athletes from the area.
Upcoming athletes are forced to travel a long distance to Kitale in Trans Nzoia County for speed sessions. Construction of the Sh300 million Mt Elgon High Altitude Training Centre started six years ago.
Upon completion, the 400-bed camp was expected to serve athletes from Western Kenya, Rift Valley region as well as Uganda.
The first phase of construction started in 2014 and was meant to be completed in June 2015.
Marathoner and aspiring coach Cornelius Ndiwa said athletes from the region deserve better.
“We have talented athletes in this region and the national government needs to support them to grow. It is a pity that such athletes have now turned their attention to Uganda because the country has good training facilities and always makes an effort of supporting her sportsmen and women,” Ndiwa, who thanked the federation for visiting the region, observed.
World Under-20 800m semifinalist Sheila Chepkosgei during the session said that the region has good athletes but needs support from various stakeholders.
“It was tough getting to the World Under-20 Championships but my plea to the government is to come to the rescue of athletes who have been struggling to make ends meet,” said Chepkosgei.
Abel Kipsang, who was fourth in 1,500m during the 2020 Olympic Games, said that he was forced to change his training base to Kapcherop in Elgeyo Marakwet due to lack of good tracks in the region.
“The federation has done a good thing to visit the young upcoming athletes and our main problem is a good track which is essential in training. This region has good athletes but we have moved to various places because we don’t have a place to train.
“Those who have money will travel all the way to Ndura’s track in Kitale, Trans Nzoia which is also a private facility. We need attention as athletes and we shall be able to do well across the globe,” said Kipsang.
The next forum shall be held in Kapenguria, West Pokot County where athletes from neighbouring camps are expected to attend.