Just this past year, we as country, an athletics powerhouse, launched a new laboratory to try and curb the menace that had dogged us for years. Doping. It does not look to serve only us, but the rest of the region as well. Quite a moment to be happy, a moment to be glad that we do not have to fly out, all the way to South Africa or Europe for samples of blood to be tested.
Its a quite honorary step to bring professionalism into sports. 21st Century it is, but we are worlds apart compared to Europe, America and Asia. Why? The question of professionalism has never being more fundamental than it is now even as we seek to take and see, our sports reach to that next level across the whole continent if not the region and country.
Professionalism is defined as a way of doing a job showing great skills and experience, according to the Oxford dictionary. Translating that to sports would mean that sporting federations, the ministry in charge of sports as well as their counterparts in county governments in the form of CEC’s and corporates should possess this. The know how of how to not only run sports administration but as well, addressing challenges in the best way possible. Athletics Kenya did a good one in partnering with Lancet Group of Laboratories in East Africa to have this project initiated and it passed the test to have it up and running.
With this, we could promote equality in sporting competition and culture really well. We can halt the doping menace not only in athletics but in all sports as well as we have the capability, proven by us being permitted by WADA. That said, the success of such a laboratory in the country would be really a thing that we will have to watch and pray that no scandals, will dog its progress in the near future.
For other federations, the question has always being about the adoption of a more transparent and accountable method of administration in sports. If there has being a thing that has drugged as down for a long time now, it is corruption. Even in doping, it is corruption. All around money or objects changing hands illegally.
That said, we should remember that a lot of money goes into supporting sporting activities in the country, whether be it supporting travelling teams, organizing tournaments within the country or just having to run the federations in day to day activities. Yet, sadly, even what is given is not enough. Even more sad, is that the people entrusted with this mere resources plunder it through wastage and questions are raised about it.
We will remember that the Auditor General raised questions about, the use of the Kes.3.5 Billion given during the IAAF Under 18 World Championship hosted here in Nairobi back in 2017 July. According to the concerns raised, almost more than half of that, Kes. 1.7 billion, could not be accounted for by the Ministry. Maybe, and just maybe, that’s why the government would just be giving less and less towards the Ministry to control on the appetite of wastage and greed that may have being occasioned from them.
Last but not least, it should be extended in the hosting of hosting of sporting events in the country. Yes, we have being able to host a number of tournaments such as CECAFA, IAAF under 18 that we are now entrusted with IAAF Under 20 tournament next year in July. Haven’t heard a thing about the progress of preparations so far but the last minute rush to prove that work is ongoing is a culture that must stop. It cost us the chance to host the CHAN tournament last year, and if not careful, might cost us even more in the future.
Failing to host CHAN, whose hosting rights we were granted back in 2013, is quite a painful reminder of how important it is, to prepare much earlier. We got a lot of learning to do from the past mistakes which could translate to a much better professional approach in sports in the country, region and the continent as a whole. Of course, I have not gone into all aspects of where professionalism is needed in our sports, but the ones above, are a few areas I felt are critical to address.