Delay in completion of Kamariny Stadium has dealt a blow to glorious performances among Iten-based runners, Wilson Kipsang has said.
The former world marathon champion said Kamariny Stadium was the only public training facility for Iten-based runners.
Kipsang said runners training in the high altitude training base have been forced to travel to Tambach and Eldoret daily for training.
“Many athletes can’t afford Sh100 to travel to Tambach or Sh200 to travel to Eldoret on a daily basis. Many of them are young athletes struggling to make ends meet and make a name in the athletics world and they have given up,” Kipsang said.
The two-time Frankfurt and London Marathon champion said athletics fortunes have significantly dwindled in the two years Kamariny Stadium has been under construction.
Construction of the Sh257 million facility that was used by athletes from mostly North Rift counties, started in 2016 and was to be completed in October 2017.
Athletes have resorted to training on the roads, often causing traffic jams and risk being knocked down by motorists and motorcyclists.
“If you do a research on athletics performances in Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties today, you will agree that athletes have no training base,” Kipsang said, urging Sports Kenya to speed up the project. A section of athletes travel to University of Eldoret and Moi University Annex grounds in Eldoret, since High Altitude training stadium owned by Lornah Kiplagat is a private stadium and athletes pay to use the facility.
Elgeyo Marakwet Sports executive Anita Kimwatan said the county government is constructing an alternative training ground in Kiptingo near Kamariny.
Kimwatan said the murram track in Kiptungo will have changing rooms and will save the over 2,000 athletes training in Iten the costs of traveling long distances.
“Kamariny is iconic. It was to be completed in six months. It is unfortunate that it not complete,” she said.
But Kipsang said construction of the alternative training ground has also been dragging for many months. Sports PS Peter Kaberia toured the stadium in January and promised the project would be completed before end of April this year.