Opinion and Analysis
Roll out more talent academies
Posted Sunday, August 5 2012 at 18:11
The Olympics are here once more. Over the years, Kenyan athletes have cut a niche for themselves in these games, unarguably the country’s best ambassadors. Men and women from other nations can only rule in other Olympic events.
But with better training, we could do well in other events too.
When I read part of Samuel Wanjiru’s biography, Running on Empty by Frits Conijn, some details were quite informative.
The book notes that on admission to Japan’s Ikuei High School, one of Wanjiru’s colleagues is quoted to have once observed that, “…..When he arrived in Japan, he was still young and reckless. He could run without strategy.
If he had stayed in Kenya, in my opinion, he would never have won gold in the Olympics.
In Japan, he learned garman, a combination of insight, patience and willpower”, as he appreciated Wanjiru’s track improvement in Japan.
So couldn’t we also have schools that could teach young talented Kenyans how to combine “insight, patience and willpower”, attributed to Wanjiru’s turn around in Tokyo? Can’t we ‘incubate’ and grow some of the young and talented Kenyans right here at home?
In the year 2010, we came up with the Unicef funded National Youth Talent Academy based at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. The NYTA is meant to grow young talent in soccer, volleyball, media and creative arts.
But there’s very little structured information getting into the public domain about the progress of the academy since. We need to know whether the academy has added value in growing young talented Kenyans.
Gallant Soccer Academy in Naivasha specialises in offering professional soccer training to talented pupils. Started in 2009, the academy aims at growing and nurturing talents in various sports, but mainly concentrates on football. This is helpful. Kip Keino’s High Performance Training Centre in Eldoret focuses on promoting up-coming athletes to attain prowess in middle and long distances.
These efforts by Unicef and private investors are commendable. But I wish we could have more investments in focused talent academies of all kinds. Talent academies help to nurture those endowed with extraordinary talents in areas helpful to mankind including athletics, soccer, music, performing arts or even leadership.
Talent academies could also be established to specifically promote excellence in numerics, the physical or human sciences. Some are established for lower school students with unusually high IQ hence unable to cope with the pace of average learners.
Developed nations have established all manner of elite academies to cater for the development of young talented children and the youth in diverse fields.
We now need top notch training academies attractive to global athletes. Many would wish to train in Kenya to emulate our successful local athletes. Sponsors would find it easier and cheaper to enrol talented young runners locally. Investors should surely exploit this option.
We also need talent centres for our local musicians…..a place where one could hone their voice and music writing skills. We have a big local pool to tap from.
Philanthropic wealthy Kenyan’s may wish to consider investments in such talent centres for posterity. Perhaps Kenya would even begin to bag medals other Olympic events.