Kenya’s team of veteran athletes for the World Masters Athletics championships in Australia hangs in the balance due non availability of funds to facilitate the trip.
The team’s head cpach retired sprinter Rose Tata Muya said efforts to raise funds have been futile and feared that they may not make the trip.
Kenya is expected to make its maiden appearance in the annual championship slated for October 26-November 6 in Perth, Australia since the formation of the parent body of veteran athletes, Masters Athletics Kenya (MAK) mid this year.
Tata Muya said they need KShs 7 million to send a team to Australia and appealed to the government, well wishers and corporate to come on board and chip in to make the trip a reality. She said the government has so far given return air tickets worth Sh3.5 million adding there was still a deficit in meeting the other requirements.
The country’s team comprises of the 2006 Helsinki Marathon champion Francis Komu, the 2012 Duke City marathon runners up John Sang, 2004 New Mexico City marathon winner Philip Metto and Austria marathon winner Joshua Rop among others.
The World Masters Athletics Championships are the biennial championships for Masters athletics events held under the auspices of World Masters Athletics formerly called the World Association of Veteran Athletes, for athletes over the age of 35 years.
Masters athletics is a class of the sport of athletics for veteran athletes in the events of track and field, road running and cross country running.
Masters Athletics Kenya is headed by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) Chairman the legendary Hezekiah Kipchoge Keino as its patron.
Former Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) chairman and national universities and colleges 3000m steeplechase record holder Barnabas Kitilit is MAK’s president
Former national heptathlon record holder Sarah Kiwanuka who once chaired Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi branch is Kitilit’s deputy.
Four time Boston Marathon champion Catherine ‘The Great’ Ndereba is the organisation’s treasurer as a former athlete and a South Rift based coach Bernard Kipyator is the secretary general.
Former All Africa Games and Africa Senior Athletics javelin record holder and who currently holds Kenya’s national shot put record Elizabeth Olaba is MAK’s Public Relations Officer (PRO).
The Kenya Primary Schools Sports Association (KPSSA) and AK Makueni County chairman Joseph Illoviis MAK’s Technical Director.
The 1987 Nairobi All Africa Games 800m silver medalist Stephen Ole Marai, former national 400m hurdles national record holder Tata Muya are committee members.
AK Nairobi branch chairman Barnabas Korir , Athletics Kenya museum curator Francis Nyatome , University of Nairobi (UON) sports medicine lecturer Nicholas Bariasha and AK West Pokot county chairman and coach Sammy Ruto are co Opted members.