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  • The Kenyan paradox...

    We all know that Kenya is the kingdom of top
    World-class milers and long distance runners
    with Ethiopia.
    But, against very dominating champions like
    El GUERROUJ, GEBRESELASSIE, the new Qatarian
    CHERONO or BEKELE... I fear they could come
    back home without any Gold medal.
    Even 800m an Marathon are quite too uncertain
    to make neither LAGAT nor the very talented
    800m Kenyan wave clear favourites for Gold.
    Am I right?

  • #2
    Re: The Kenyan paradox...

    > Am I right?

    You are right in that no one is guaranteed to win gold in any event. Have a look at the following thread:
    http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/tfn/di ... hread=3471

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    • #3
      Re: The Kenyan paradox...

      If they stay healthy and fit and are selected by AK to run in Athens, Mutua or Bungei will win the 800m.

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      • #4
        Re: The Kenyan paradox...

        Trackhead,
        I feel the same about these two Kenyan talents,
        especially about Wilfred BUNGEI whose very
        easy natural stride and great finish impressed
        me a lot.

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        • #5
          Re: The Kenyan paradox...

          Last summer's Worlds was either a harbinger or a wake-up call.

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          • #6
            Re: The Kenyan paradox...

            I'd say that Ethiopia's dominance at the championship events has been going on for a while now. If you've got a guy like Geb, he's not going to be losing many big races. Bekele will dominate the 10K for some time to come.

            But don't forget the fantastic meet Kenya had as recently as Edmonton. They won the steeple, 5000 and 10,000, and also won silver at 800, 1500 and the marathon.

            Also remember that just making the Kenyan team is brutal. Bungei would've probably won in Paris, but he was sick before their trials. The Ethiopians won't have to go through such a rigorous qualifying procedure.

            But let's also be honest, Stephen Cherono and Wilson Kipketer are Kenyan, they just run in uniforms at the Championships.

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            • #7
              Re: The Kenyan paradox...

              >Bekele will dominate the 10K for some time to come.

              not necessarily!

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              • #8
                Re: The Kenyan paradox...

                I feel so sorry for the Kenyans.

                American distance runners just want to make the finals.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Kenyan paradox...

                  I'll repost some info from Renato Canova on the difference between Ethiopian and Kenyan training programs:

                  Just arrived from Kenya, I'm reading your discussion about Kenyans and Ethiopians. My opinion (I follow some Ethiopian too) is the following :

                  1) The first difference is a different level in organization. In Ethiopia, 95% of the athletes come from the area of Arsa, about 120 km far from Addis Ababa (that is the correct English name), and live all together in town : there is a group of National Team, but the best "private" athletes use to join with National Team for the more significative trainings during the week. All the athletes go running twice per week at 3200m of altitude, using military lorries able to transport 30-40 runners. Twice er week all the group is on track, with some difference in training, but very similar programs.
                  So, for the coaches is very easy to control the real shape of best athletes, and only when they are in top shape are allowed to compete in Europe. The control from Ethiopian Federation is very strict, and the collaboration between Federation and managers is precise and follows clear rules, that put the interest of the Country in top events over every other interest.
                  In Kenya, there isn't any type of organization. While the number of Ethiopian runners is about 60-70 (all together, males and females, marathon runners and track runners, old and young), the numbers of Kenyan is more than 1.000. Around the world, already about one thousand runners normally compete in Europe, America and Asia (about 50 runners are based in Japan).
                  Nobody knows new comers, and there is not any type of technical organization in districts and provinces. During the last 3-4 years, in Kenya there are more competitions, and now the calendar has many races (cross and road during winter, track from march) at the different levels of District, Province and Country. Young athletes start running in their village following an athlete already of international level, trying to do the same training (also if very much younger)without coaches or technical advices. Sometime, after District competitions, there is some manager recruiting the best juniors, outside every intervent of Kenyan Federation. So, when the best athletes go running in Provincials, managers already know the best young runners, official national coaches not yet. The same after Provincials.
                  The task of National Coaches begin during Trials : they select the best in the race, that normally never saw before, and from that moment put the athletes together in residential camps, and train athletes without knowing their previous training and their attitudes, all together. So, normally athletes in good shape lose their shape, using non specific and personal training, while athletes in medium shape are able to improve, training more with the other runners. This means that is not possible to know exactly the level of personal condition before a big event, as the control is not from coaches well knowing athletes, but from coaches not connected with the athletes themselves.

                  2) In Kenya athletes have to pass thru Trials (also the best), while in Ethiopia are selected using a mixed system. So, normally in Kenya never there is the best possible selection, but only the more commod (see Wilfred Bungei and Mutua last year, or Paul Koech in steeple). This is a very big advantage for Ethiopian runners.

                  3) For long time, Kenyan coaches (like Mike Kosgei) always spoke about "tactics", like a secret for winning big events. Really, when Kenyans were the top 10 in cross country, it was easy to talk about tactics with one minute of advantage in 10000m ! Now, the real problem is "to train athletes for running faster", not tactics. Tactic is for the strongest, not for who is weaker.
                  In Paris, before 10000m, I was seated with Mike Kosgei in the warm-up area, when Moses Kiptanui arrived, telling to Mike that "John Korir is not in shape, and Talel is very much better than him. So, it's better to use John for pacing for Talel, not the contrary". I asked Mike "and you, what do you think ?", and he answered me "I don't agree, as John, also if only at 80%, always is better than Wilberforce Talel, so I think that in any case is the best of the team". I answered to Mike : "Mike, John is of sure better than Wilberforce (both my athletes), but I want to tell you something about "tactic", as 10 min ago I spoke with Jos Hermens about the race : after 4 km, Gebre himself goes in front running at 2:35 per km. So, the only tactical advice is to try to follow : who is able to follow Ethiopians, can arrive n. 4, as the top 3 in the medals are Ethiopians of sure".
                  And, about Cherono, Kiptanui had a meeting together Reuben Kosgei and Ezekiel Kemboi before the final of steeple, saying "You have to lock Cherono, then you decide who is the winner". Of course, I planned a very fast start, and they were surprised. What is tactic, when you are weaker ?

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Kenyan paradox...

                    It is by no means certain (how can you when you're speaking about the Kenyan Federation) but there is talk of choosing the Kenyan team by the results they produce on the European circuit.

                    This, to some degree, can help athletes solely concentrate on getting in shape and running well in the big meets and not having to peak form for the Trials and then again for the Olympics.

                    However, I am a bit afraid that if someone has the same time (or close to it) than another competitor then there might be the danger of politics and "bribing" involved, where pressure is put on the selectors to take one athlete over another. It may not be a perfect process, but at least the 1,2,3 is final and can be accepted by all.

                    Maybe the best way is to have the first 2 spots from the Trials and then the 3rd up to the selection process.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Kenyan paradox...

                      There are pros and cons to this. Personally I think U.S. should do the same thing -- leave one spot discretionary, to take account of the odd situation where someone falls, messes up, isn't fit on the day, but deserves to go (O'Brien in decathlon, e.g.). Should be a requirement that you must compete in Trials (seems that in the 80s the British selection process would lead to their best not competing in their selection meet, since he was guaranteed a spot). This probably has been discussed ad infinitum on these message boards . . .

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