How school sport drives the growth of athletics, the example of Kenya – Sports – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
Kenya’s dominance in athletics in Africa and at the world level is attributed to the country’s stronghold in school sports. Unlike Nigeria, where school sports are only advertised on the pages of newspapers, the school physical education curriculum (extracurricular activities) in Kenya has several gold medalists at the Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and the African Games.
Unlike in the past, when Kenyan athletes were mainly known for endurance racing, the situation seems to have changed.
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, a Kenyan athlete, Ferdinand Omanyala, made big headlines in Lagos when he defeated Nigeria’s sprinter Enoch Adegoke and others and won the 100m race in 10.05 seconds at the third MoC Grand Prix. He also set a new Kenyan national record and meet record (MR) of 10.01 seconds at the same event.
And at the recently concluded Junior Athletics World Championships, Nairobi 2021, the host country Kenya was the center of attraction for every athletics lover. The Kenyans were everywhere and dominated the track. In the end, Kenya led the medal table with eight gold, one silver and seven bronze medals.
According to Kioko Gatimu, a Kenyan volunteer who oversaw visitors to Kasarani Stadium, the country’s investments in school sports are paying off in athletics and other sports such as rugby.
“We have a very effective school sports system and it helps our athletics and other sports like rugby,” Gatimu, a former long-distance runner, told the Guardian on day four of the competition at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.
He suggested that schools in Kenya are creating space for physical training as part of their after-school activities that help connect education with sport.
This is a far cry from the current system in Nigeria where elementary and secondary schools offer nothing but homework for children.
Research by the Guardian has found that over 80 percent of elementary and secondary schools in Nigeria don’t even need a playground, let alone exercise equipment.
From Lagos to Oyo, Ondo to Edo, Delta, Rivers, Enugu, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Kano, Gombe and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), schools only talk about sports when it’s time for sports between the houses.
“For the most part, our school children in Nigeria are just doing homework, homework and schooling from the start of the session to the end,” Miss Temitope Olayinka told the Guardian on a phone call during the week.
Olayinka, a secondary school teacher in Lagos, explains the daily routine of most children in Nigerian schools. “From 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. school time, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. school lessons, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. home lessons and 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. school assignment. Can you tell me when a child has time to exercise?
“What do you expect from our young people that they do well in terms of sport? In most cases, our children attend kindergarten, primary and secondary school in just one building block. No more playing fields for them. Some of them get up at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for school and be back around 6:00 p.m.
“Look at what happened at the Tokyo Olympics. A country with over 200 million inhabitants only celebrated one silver and one bronze medal. We saw young Americans and Chinese win medals in cycling, swimming, gymnastics, and track and field.
“All of our children in Nigeria are learning math, biology, physics and English. Why can’t Nigeria learn from the school system in China and the US that will help us get so many Olympic medals? When it comes to increasing the price of fuel, we will compare Nigeria to other countries that pay more for it.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sport need to find a solution quickly because in a few years it will be difficult for Nigeria to bring young people together for large competitions. The government needs to find a way to keep our teenagers busy in school by revitalizing our school sports system.
“There should be a law prohibiting schools from running without space for sports facilities in the country. If there is no space, such schools should pay those who have sports facilities in their area so that the children can show their God-given talent. “
Not every child ends up becoming a doctor, lawyer, and engineer. Those with athletic talents may become even better known in the fields of athletics, soccer, basketball, etc. Our younger generation will continue to suffer from this “no job problem” until we learn to add other activities to our children’s lives, ”said Olayinka.