Former world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Moses Kiptanui has urged young athletes to ensure they plan for their future.
Kiptanui bemoaned the fact that many of his compatriots do not have a long-term plan while in their active years.
The former world champion was addressing hundreds of athletics stakeholders that gathered in the renowned athletics hotbed of Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet County for another leg of the Athletics Kenya (AK) consultative forums on Wednesday.
Deliberations at the forum unearthed a plethora of issues that the athletes want attended to improve the sport.
“Even when milking a cow there is a period when everything dries up and you have to be sharper to survive. Very few athletes have run beyond 10 years and they can be counted,” Kiptanui said.
He added: “I am talking about the likes of world marathon record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, multiple Olympic and world champion Ezekiel Kemboi and former Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion Leah Malot among others.”
Kiptanui said it was unfortunate that most athletes who ran alongside him in the 90s are living in squalor.
“Not many can afford even shoes and some of them have been forced to use running shoes to move around. We forget where we came from immediately we start making money and before we know it we are broke,” Kiptanui said.
Turning his attention to the water-and-barriers race, Kiptanui feels Kenya can reclaim her dominance in the event.
“We are not badly off as many people want to believe and Kenya’s traditional sport can still be rescued despite a poor showing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” he said.
Kiptanui said athletes don’t need much to perform considering he broke seven world records while training on murram.
“It’s not a must that the government provides tartan track. Even a well-done track with murram can help. After all, the likes of legendary Kipchoge Keino and the late Naftali Temu still performed while training on grass,” Kiptanui said.
Speaking on the same issue, the 2018 Commonwealth 5000m champion Edward Zakayo lamented over lack of facilities for athletes to improve on their speed work.
“While accommodation is not a major issue, many athletes are forced to travel to Eldoret to secure facilities for speed work . This is time consuming and we spend a lot of money on it,” Zakayo said.
Other issues aired by different speakers included emergence of brokers, unqualified coaches, lack of AK academy and sexual harassment among others.