Coach Kirwa, AK to hold crunch talk with athletes amidst decline in 5,000m

National athletics coach Julius Kirwa has said that Athletics Kenya is planning to hold crunch talks with men’s 5,000m athletes as they seek to find a lasting solution to Kenya’s dismal performance over the distance in major championships.

Ever since Benjamin Limos’s heroics in 2005 World championships in Helsinki, Finland, a gold medal has proved elusive for Kenya with the duo of Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and Britain’s MO Farah running the rule for close to a decade.

Kenya’s record in the race in Olympic Games  has not been any better either as Kenya is yet to bag a gold medal for three decades with John Ngugi being the last Kenyan to pause with a gold medal in 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea.

With the clock ticking towards this year’s World Championships set for Doha, Qatar from September 28 to October 6, the veteran coach has set crunch talks with the major stakeholders in a bid to find a solution to the nosedive performance in the discipline.

“For sure 5000m is a race we have been following very closely and I think AK has a good mechanism put in place this time round in that we intend to talk to the athletes whom we think are capable of making the team for the Worlds. I am certain we will engage them accordingly and change things,” Kirwa told Citizen Digital.

With Bekele and Farah now out of equation having quit track and consequently shifting to road races, it is the new generation of athletes that all eyes will be looking up to in Doha extravaganza.

Prodigies Edward Zakayo and Stanley Waithaka ran a tactical race to clinch 1-2 respectively at the 2018 World Under-20 championships in Tampere, Finland thus carrying expectations of Kenyans ahead of national trials.

Kenyans will, however, need to be wary of their familiar foes in Ethiopia led by Selemon Barega who has been a revelation this year across the Diamond League series.

Nevertheless, Kirwa exuded confidence with the upcoming athletes who he says are a joy to watch and future assets for the country.

“I am very happy with how our junior athletes are progressing and I will single out Rhonex Kipruto as a good example of how our youngsters are graduating well. However, I want to challenge them to be disciplined if they want to achieve a lot in their careers,” said Kirwa.

With close to a month remaining to the national championships cum trials for the World championships, it remains to be seen whether the selected team will end the 14-year wait for a gold medal in the event.

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