Richard Mateelong follows proceedings during the Athletes consultative forum in Keringet, Nakuru county on November 18, 2021. [Courtesy]

Athletics stakeholders have asked Athletics Kenya (AK) to establish mentorship programmes involving retired and young athletes.

They said such programmes will keep the younger ones remain active for a long time.

Former Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Richard Mateelong who spoke in Keringet in Nakuru County on Thursday urged young athletes to always listen to their seniors.

“We have good talent in this region and we are happy that the federation has gone to the grassroot to seek opinions on how to improve the sport. Young athletes should be ready to listen to their seniors and always be disciplined if they want to have a good career,” Mateelong said.

He asked AK to continually check on upcoming athletes to keep abreast on the issues affecting them.

“In the past, we have seen the federation holding seminars, which were only targeting a few people. This time around, they are visiting all the regions concentrated with athletes which is the only way going forward to address emerging issues,” he said.

The former champion also applauded the county government for building a training facility in the region. He proposed a census of athletes who need help and to create a kitty for them.

“We have athletes who are struggling to make the ends meet and the national government should come up with a plan on how they can support them because they need food for them to train well. Going forward, we need to make sure the sport is given a budget for such issues,” Mateelong said.

A number of athletes who spoke said 90 percent of them cannot access training facilitiess.

Nickson Koech,  road runner in the county, said they face challenges.

“We normally ask friends and relatives to help us with some cash so that we can travel to compete,” said Koech. 

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