This is Justin Lagat’s piece on a week-long training on officiating that he is taking this week in Kapsabet. 

Officiating and coaching -besides equipment, facilities, scientific support, finances, administration, and others- are two of the main drivers of athletics development in any region. The county of Nandi, commonly referred to as the “source of Champions,” with input from the Athletics Kenya regional office, has taken the initiative to support coaches and officials in athletics as part of its initiative to safeguard and preserve their “natural resource,” which is running.

There is a one-week long training happening from 9th to 14th January 2023 at the Eliud Kipchoge Sports Complex in Kapsabet.

“As the source of champions, it is interesting to find out that we do not have a good number of high-profile coaches and technical officials in the sector of athletics in order to be able to manage our God-given natural resource in the region,” the deputy governor of Nandi County, Dr. Yulitta Mitei, said during the official opening of the seminar.

Tecla Sang and Josephy Chemuren taking officials through practicals and officiating athletics, photo by Justin Lagat

“Narok County has the Maasai Mara, where tourists come from all over the world to watch wildlife. Mombasa County has the ocean and beautiful beaches, and Kisumu has a lake. It is time that our region asks what natural resources they have and work towards developing and safeguarding them.”

The training facilitators are Tecla Chemabwai Sang (one of the first female Olympians from Kenya),  Amos Kipkemboi Ronoh (senior coach and Technical official), and Joseph Chemuren (senior World Athletics Referee).

“The most important thing in anything you are doing and in whatever you will do; is to start,” Sang said while introducing the officiating training, adding that she was optimistic that most of the officiating trainees here will climb up the ladder to the top of officiating and decision-making duties in the world.

Thirty technical officials and sixty-six coaches are currently training at the newly built Eliud Kipchoge Sports Complex in Kapsabet town.

The highest percentage of those who reported for the officiating and coaching training are teachers, followed by law enforcers, especially from the national police service. One or two representatives from other sectors and just one journalist are in the mix. And, despite coming from different sectors, most of the attendees –and all the facilitators- are former athletes.

Hosea Sanga, the Athletics Kenya Nandi County Chairman, oversees all the event activities.

“Perhaps, one of the reasons for the high cases of doping could be as a result of coaches who are not trained and do not know the proper way to provide their athletes with the proper training,” Kennedy Tanui, who is one of the Athletics Kenya regional officials said during the opening of the event.



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