With catalogues of cancellation and postponement of marathon events all over the World as a result of coronavirus pandemic, most Kenyan star athletes are facing uncertain future even as they train in what most Kenya now call ‘save face training’.
These recent happening had now cast a huge shadow over preparations for spring road races, marathons, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Kenya’s runners say they are just training to keep fit but they don’t know what will happen.
Three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor on interview with Kenya standard last weekend, said athletes have no option but to train and keep fit.”It’s unfortunate that coronavirus outbreak has seen races being cancelled or postponed. We are still going ahead with our training but we are not sure when we will race. Our hope is that the world will contain the outbreak soon”.
Bedan Karoki who finished fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Marathon which was held on March 1 this year, had this to say; ” its a torturous moment for the athletes and managers who depend on the competition to make a living. It’s getting messy every day with this spreading of coronavirus. Many athletes don’t know when they will race next, I’m lucky I competed at my last event two weeks ago, but many runners and managers who depend on races abroad financially are suffering,” Karoki said. The Japan-based Karoki added: “Athletes are programmed to train for upcoming events they are set take part in, but now we are just training without any knowledge of what will happen next”.
Coach Bernard Ouma of Rongai Athletics Club, the training camp for world stars including 1,500m world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Managoi, Inter-continental champion Winny Chebet among others terms their training as “saving face”.
“It’s getting worse each day, psychologically athletes are just training to save face, we are training without proper planning, the situation is unprecedented,” Ouma said.