Athletics Athletics

Chinese cooks set to descend on Iten


DIACK-BEIJINGNAIROBI, April 1- In an effort to improve chances of winning medals at distance races during this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China will send 150 culinary experts to Kenya to learn how to prepare the kind of dishes that have made their runners excel at world events.

The southwest Chinese city of Guiyang witnessed the might of Kenya distance runners last Saturday at the 41st World Cross and China that has invested millions of dollars to host the biennial track and field showpiece is keen on borrowing from Kenya’s menu of success.

The Minister of the General Administration of Sport of China and Chairman of the Chinese Olympic Committee Liu Peng and the Mayor of Beijing Wang Anshun announced this plans on Tuesday, a day after the launch to unveil the designs of the tickets and to open online sales for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing that run from August 22 to 30 at the iconic Bird’s Nest.

“China wants to welcome the world to Beijing as well as win in races we used to win in the past. Kenya runners excel because of training hard and eating well and we have sent our people to learn how to cook their food since it is important.

“Kenya did well in Guiyang and we are pleased to welcome their great athletes back and we are happy our friends have agreed for our people to learn how to cook their food for one month,” Peng said through an interpreter.

Anshun, who was in Guiyang singled out World Cross senior champions, Geoffrey Kipsang and Agnes Tirop adding he wished the pair will return to China in the track team.

“The stamina, determination and spirit shown by Kamworor and Agnes was admirable. The course was hard and tough but you could see they were in good condition and diet is very important,” the mayor added.

The first batch of the experts who include cooks, nutritionists and dieticians will arrive in Nairobi Wednesday week to be followed by the remaining group that comes in on April 15.

They will then proceed to Iten where they will sample the nutritional needs of high flying runners such as Olympic champion and record holder, David Rudisha, who trains in the town as well as camps of famous marathoners such as two-time World Champion, Abel Kirui.

Wang Junxia (1996) and Xing Huina (2004) are Chinese distance Olympics female champions in 5000m and 10000m and the hosts who failed to produce a distance winner on the track when Bird’s Nest hosted the 2008 Olympics are keen to ensure the same is not repeated in August.

IAAF President Lamine Diack met the two officials in the Golden Room of China’s National Stadium, better known as the Bird’s Nest, to unveil the design of the tickets and to open online sales having travelled from Guiyang.