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AK moots to bar candidates from competing

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 16- Athletics Kenya (AK) has proposed barring all candidate runners from international competitions that fall on the year they are due to face national examinations.

AK boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, said the federation was discussing with the ministries of Education and Higher Education to ensure the move is legislated to stem poor results posted by athletes in the exams.

“We want to stress the issue of education because looking at the results announced in recent Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), most of the athletes performed extremely poorly and that is the trend we do not want to see,” Kiplagat charged.

“We would like to see our athletes excelling in their education as well as winning medals. The future is more important than winning medals and history will judge us harshly if we do not give the matter due consideration,” the chair added.

He however, said special dispensation would be given for events falling in the first school term that ends in March under the plan that is meant to restrict participation of age athletes.

If the proposal is implemented, events such as World Junior, World Youth, Samsung Diamond League and other IAAF Permit events on track that fall in the second term of the Kenyan school calendar would be affected.

Some of the top junior runners who competed last year ahead of their final exams include World Youth 800m record holder and champion, Leonard Kirwa Konsecha and World Cross women junior gold medallist Faith Chepng’etich who wrote their secondary and primary school national exams respectively.

To illustrate the scope of the problem, candidate runners generate media coverage ahead of the exams with no visible reports after the results are released.

Kiplagat said Kenya would bid to host the 2020 World Junior or 2019 World Youth championships if only the Government gives them the go ahead.

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“We have won the World Youth for a number of times and we are always number one or two to USA in the World Juniors and it is only fitting for us to bid for the two events as we organised the 2007 World Cross,” he stated.

In another edict, the AK boss said further plans were in place to ensure all athletes who are travelling to compete outside the country only do so with clearance from the federation.

“I’m appealing to all embassies to issue visas to runners only when they have a letter to AK. Cases where our athletes are being deported are on the rise and so far, we have lost two runners who left here without our knowledge,” he explained.

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