Uproar as elite athletes denied access to training facility at Moi University
A number of elite and upcoming athletes in Eldoret town are up in arms after they were denied access to training grounds at Moi University’s Annex campus.
The athletes who include former World 800m champion Eunice Sum were shocked on Thursday after they were turned away by guards manning the institution’s gate.
Ms Sum told the Daily Nation that the guards ‘acting on orders from above’ asked them to look for alternative training grounds.
“I was surprised when we were denied entry into the institution. The guards told us we must first pay up before being allowed to use their facilities,” said Sum.
She revealed that they were now mulling over switching to University of Eldoret.
“The problem is the distance. It is very far and most of the time, it is packed with other athletes,” she added.
“Kipchoge Stadium in Eldoret is also another option but it is always locked. I understand it is under renovation. What is the point of renovating it if athletes cannot train there?” he posed.
Former 800m World champion Alfred Kirwa, currently a coach, questioned the motive behind the decision he described as unfortunate.
“We have many athletes who cannot afford to pay. We want an explanation from the university over this issue,” said Kirwa.
Similar concerns were also raised by Patrick Chukor, a 3,000 steeplechase athlete.
“I’m surprised that the management is asking us to pay up before being allowed to use their facilities. I personally came here a few months ago with the world champion in 3,000 steeplechase Ezekiel Kemboi to renovate lane one by leveling it. Why are we being denied access now?” he wondered.
Veteran athlete James Ndauwa Miaka, 57, urged the institution to reconsider the decision.
“Let them allow the athletes to continue their training. Remember these are the people we support when they win major races abroad,” Miaka said.
“The athletes normally fly our flag high in major competitions. It is therefore sad that we cannot recognize their efforts by allowing them to train without distractions,” he added.
World 3,000 steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, Olympics 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, former world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei among others normally use the facility for speed and build up.
Contacted, Moi University Public Relations Officer Alfred Wandera, confirmed that those intending to use their facilities must first pay up.