Top Kenyan athletes, including five-time World Cross Country champion and record-holder Paul Tergat has called on Athletics Kenya (AK) to change the intense selection process for the national athletics representatives to international competitions.
Looking back at the team failure at the just concluded 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, they urged an urgent review of the training methods and preparations, coaches and athletes as well as the build-up programme to the Beijing Olympics in August.
Tergat, the last Kenyan to win the men's individual 12 km title in 1999, was shocked Kenya failed to win any individual title in Edinburgh for the first time ever since 1986.
He feared that unless a remedy to stop the sharp decline is identified, the country will suffer in the Beijing Olympics as Kenya is gradually losing out in cross country running.
He said: "It is the worst ever in Kenya's history. We don't have any individual medals. it was a disaster.
"We should not use the violence that followed the disputed December elections as an excuse for the debacle in Edinburgh.”
"If we don't have the national team in training camp for two months to enhance team work, it is going to be very difficult for the Kenyans," Tergat added.
Kenya’s head coach, Julius Kirwa, said that technical handlers needed to be given more time to condition athletes for world events that were becoming tougher to win.
He said: "We need to borrow from Ethiopia and identify good championship runners who then should be kept for specialised training for a longer period.
"The short time we are allocated to train a team after selection forces us to rush our training programme and sometimes athletes fail to attain required fitness and mental strength," he added.