Fresh focus on Kigari, the oasis for World Cross stars
Since 1986, Kenya’s World Cross Country team has made annual pilgrimages to Kigari Teachers Training College in Embu County for residential camp before embarking on their eminent world-conquering exploits.
Perched on a gently sloping topography within Mount Kenya region, the high attitude camp has hosted almost every star athlete who has participated in the world cross country over the past 31 years.
Distinguished coaches, who handled various Kenyan teams over the years, are always delighted to visit the camp again with nostalgic memories, most believing the training facility has a special place in Kenya’s athletics history.
According to Elijah Kiarie, Secretary Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA), the location of the camp being far away from Rift Valley, long believed to be the cradle of Kenya’s long-distance runners, helps the athletes to concentrate.
“With such advantage there is need to set up a camp for upcoming athletes from the area, to give them an opportunity to share the stardom which country’s athletes from other regions gain by training here (in Kigari),” noted Kiarie.
He revealed that plans are at an advanced stage to set up camp where local athletes will bloom their talents.
“This will enable the county to give other regions a run for their money with the ease of assembling teams, follow up of athletes and inculcating more value for the sport.”
On his part, Embu County Chief Officer Sammy Wachira underlined the county government will be partnering with other stakeholders in sports to complete and run the envisaged camp.
“We are planning to improve facilities within Kigari. The plans are at an advanced stage for the establishment of the camp. It has paid handsomely for the country thus no doubt the undertaking is noble with the bigger picture of residents and other region’s athletes,” he noted.
Kigari, set up in 1937, also gives some of its students’ full athletics sponsorship.