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Introduction. Track and field of Kenya

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Introduction Track and field as a sport has contributed most to the positive global image of Kenya as a sporting super power. This was quite evident in the World Athletics Championships in 2015 when against all odds, Kenya emerged as the number one nation ahead of the US, Jamaica, Great Britain, Germany and Russia, among others. At the Rio Olympics Kenya came second only to the US in track and field medal rankings. In fact, it was only track and field athletes who contributed to Kenya’s medal haul and its 15th place overall on the rankings table. Kenyan runners have been the dominant force in middle- and long-distance running events for more than 40 years, thus establishing themselves as the world’s premier distance runners. Kenyans emerged on the international stage for long-distance running in 1954 at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver (British Columbia), and took part in their first Olympics in Melbourne (Australia) in 1956. Kenyan athletes, like Nyandika Maiyoro, who competed in the 3 miles and Kanuti Sum, competing in the marathon, were Kenya’s first world-class runners who paved the way for the subsequent dominance of Kenyan distance runners in world athletics. While Kenyans currently hold all men’s running world records ranging from the 800m to the marathon, there is an overwhelming over-representation of elite runners from Kenya. East African middle and long-distance runners are currently the dominant force in athletics. As well as dominating the track events at the last several Olympic Games, they are also dominant on the American and European road racing circuit and world cross country events. One of the reason of the worldwide success of Kenyan athletes is the system of selection, motivation and support of sportsmen in professional sport. Sport is compound social event having its own structure: mass sports, amateur sports, professional sports. Top-class sport is a part of sport directed to arranging sports tournaments. Athletes gain fees from providers and/or salary for taking part in and training for such tournaments. Thus, sport is legally recognized as a profession. Mass and amateur sports don’t require selection. And top-class sports, professional sports require selection of people the most talented in sports and their special training to participate in high profile tournaments. If there is no selection than a couch despite being skilled and experienced professional will work with unfit athlete and won’t gain any results anyway. Professional sports are activities in extreme situations which involve neuropsychic and physical pressure and demand high precision, speed and complexity of actions. It definitely needs events to select people capable to achieve excellence in sports. Distinguished feature of sports as a special type of activity is the utmost motivation which makes you torture yourself with daily psychical and mental pressure to win at the tournaments. Due to such motivation sports become excellent and natural lab of human potential. Such motivation emerges when you compare your results with results of other athletes. The athlete and team share a tradition of sports achievements several centuries long. Every day they reveal secrets of human body, nature and techniques. They study possibilities to show their skills and assert themselves. They explore the world and find their chance in life in all aspects: personal, financial and educational one. The aim of the task is to analyse distinguished features of selection and support system of athletes from national team of Kenya. Object of the study is selection and support system of athletes in Kenya. Subject of the study is advantages and disadvantages of selection and support system of high profile athletes in Kenya. Tasks of the research: – to study theoretic aspects to select and support athletes of national teams; – to consider distinguished features of selection and support system of athletes of national teams in different countries; – to analyse present day achievements of national team athletes in Kenya; – to make out distinguished features of selection and support system of national team athletes in Kenya; – To analyse and study challenges faced by athletes on the way to be selected in the Kenya national team. Research methods are the following: studying of literature sources, analysis, synthesis, generalization, comparison. The study consists of introduction, two chapters, conclusion, literature source, appendices. 1. Selection and support system of male and female athletes to the national team as a guarantee of success at competitions 1.1 Theoretic aspects of selection and support of athletes of national teams Nowadays, sport is a compound, multi-functional and diversified phenomenon of society life which plays significant role in its physical and spiritual life. It has become a part of global economic system, an element of global stage and results of technological advance. Sport achievements mainly depend on the manner the experts assess general condition of the sport, trends and problems of its further development, use rational selection system for athletes, consider rules of training and tournament scheme, whether they are able to use additional factors which encourage higher results in sports. World-class sports are activities directed to satisfy interest of professional athletes involved in particular type of sport, therewith its main aim is to achieve high results in sports which consequently gain respective public recognition. Such aspect of sport should be considered as a course to develop and reveal utmost physical reserves of human within open sport competition and as entertainment event full of emotions. It’s possible to show highest results in professional sports only due to powerful sport talent and goal oriented longstanding training with extreme physical and mental pressure. It enables to reveal functional reserves of the body. Of great importance is also use of evenly balanced training and competitions and immaculate system to manage training process. Results achieved in professional sports are of high interest for the spectators. They improve rank of the athlete as well as rank of the team and at the highest level - the credibility of a country. Present day world-class sport is a way of few people who have prominent sport skills. However, it’s not solid as a rock. Currently there are two main trends in it: • professional non-commercial world-class sport (L.P. Matveev, 1999), or Olympic sport (V.P. Planotov, 1997, 2004, 2013); • professional commercial sport. Professional non-commercial sports develop according to main advance rules of sport which are not connected with commercial relations. It remains the very activity which mostly reveals and develops natural skills and traits of character in human as he/she permanently strives for new sport achievements. Therewith non-commercial world-class sports become more and more professional. It means that particular group of athletes capable to show high results in sports makes it as their main activity in their lives. And they apply all energy and skills to it. Now sport is a main source of their material wealth (L.P. Matveev, 1999, 2010; V.P. Planotov, 2004, 2013; L.V. Pochinkin, 2006). Professional commercial sport is a separate trend in professional sports. V.P. Planotov (2004) considers that this trend of sport is an entertainment business in which athletes are workforce and their participation in tournament secures breath-taking vision. Sport skills and great results in particular sport make it efficient way to gain profit. Main difference between professional commercial sport and so called “non-commercial professional sport” is that the former develops not only according to rules of sport but also rules of business. It is quite noticeable in express commercial nature of the technology to arrange competitions, aim to develop types which are most profitable and breath-taking. Therewith training system of professional athletes is affected by special aims to keep the successful level within long line of competitions which follow each other. It is related to main principle to gain profit for providers and reward for athletes which directly depends on current rank of the latter. It means they constantly must rush to improve their ranks and comply with conditions of providers of commercial competitions. Current condition and further development of sport are the results of long lasting and meticulous work of international sport community: sport organizations, government officials and public figures, experts in education and sport science, couches, health professionals, members of media and other experts. Distinguished features of sports and extreme condition in professional sports prove that it’s necessary to select highly skilled people to be involved in athletic activities. Sport selection is a system of organization and methodological events of compound nature which includes pedagogical, sociological, psychological, medicine and biological methods of research. They will help to reveal skills and talents of athletes of different age and qualification. Unlike many professions which select people at the beginning of operational activity, in sport it happens very often along the whole professional career of the athlete. Sport selection as a definition of sport aptitude is a multi-stage and longstanding process which embraces all levels of athletic performance. According to main direction longstanding training of athletes is divided into four stages: preliminary performance, initial sporting area of expertise, profound training in chosen type of sport, sport excellence. Duration of these stages is stipulated by specific features of the particular type of sport, as well as degree of sport training of the newcomer. There is no sharp line between these stages. When they decide to shift to next stage of performance athletes should consider their chronological and biological age, their level of physical development, ability to keep up with constantly increasing load of training and competitions. We should consider all four stages of longstanding training of the athlete. First stage. Stage of preliminary training. Usually, this stage starts at elementary-school age (in separate type of sport, especially in art group, even earlier). In the past years sporting area of expertise was not defined at this stage and lessons should have been only general physical training. Nowadays, when the newcomer starts the course or enters sport school specialized lessons on chosen type of sport are carried out. Nevertheless, there is no division to internal sporting discipline and the play role is not defined yet. That is why this stage may be called basic one. These are the tasks of the stage: to improve health of children, diversify physical training, to eliminate flaws in physical development, to teach techniques of chosen type of sport and technique of additional and special training exercises. Training of young athletes involves various ways and methods, wide use of materials of different types of sport, active games and gaming technique. This stage doesn’t include training lessons with considerable physical and psychological loads and using repetitive and dull material. Basic elements of technique and tactics of chosen type of the sport are taught. In this period first competitions are held which bring first joy and disappointment. The task is to teach skills to compete, accept wins and losses and consider competitions as a mark of sporting progress. Second stage. It is the stage of sporting area of expertise. Tasks of educational and training processes: • to improve health of the young athletes; • to increase general physical degree of training; • to improve special physical degree of training; • to gain essential techniques at the level of skills; • to gain basis knowledge of tactics; • to choose certain sporting area of expertise or game role, start shaping their individual style of activity; • to gain experience in competition. At this stage young athlete start to participate in competitions in other cities and countries, meet new mates and friends in his/her team or in other teams. Trainings are held almost every day (and sometimes even twice a day); physical and psychological loads permanently increase. That is why the task is not to speed up training but to prepare body and personality of young athletes to intensive professional work. Third stage. It’s a stage of profound training and sporting area of expertise. When load is defined at the preliminary stage, the tasks are stated to increase diversified physical and functional degree of training. Having gained it it’s possible to improve level of physical capability, develop specific physical features, and gain compound technique and tactics skills. In the competition period the task is stated to improve results in sports as compared to last season and to perform classification standards. Of great importance is special psychological training of the young athlete to the competitions. It contemplates information about conditions of the future competitions and main rivals, degree of training of athlete and important things about his/her condition on this stage of training. The couch defines aim of the performance, compile game plan for coming events, encourage personal and social motivation to participate in competitions according to stated aim, inspire confidence to solve stated tasks. Fourth stage. It’s a stage of sport excellence Main principle of work on this stage is a specialized training which considers individual features of the athletes. Major task of this stage is to maximally use training methods which will trigger active adaptation. Total volume and intensity of training reach its peak. Heavy load activities are carried out, number of sessions in micro cycles may increase up to 15–20 and even more. Competition practice and special psychological, tactical and integral training take all the time. As the training hours increase the time for recreation should be increased too. It should be used therapeutic and psychological methods as well as pedagogical ones to restore efficiency. It’s obvious that personality of athlete is a linchpin in the sports community. In this case the athlete is a human which excellence and achievements, behaviour and lifestyle facilitate development and trends of present day sport. The personality of athlete is considered as a role model who has gained features which society appreciates and it helps to define its social class in it. Social class of the personality is a sum of rights and obligations which define place of the person in the society and states his/her legal and social status. The experts make out three sublevels when considering social status of the personality: • social one itself (motivation, interests, life experience, aims) is a sublevel which is tightly related to social conscience impartial to each and every person playing as part of social environment and material of individual consciousness; • specific cultural one (values and principles, conduct standards); • ethic one (morals, morality). Important element to define social status of personality is standard subsystem which is defined by values, guidelines and sanctions. Values define aims and motives of behaviour. Guidelines indicate preferable means to achieve these aims. To secure compliance with guidelines and common values sanctions are implemented in social system (incentives and punishment). Conduct standards which define social status of the athlete are stipulated by certain circumstances. “Special activity” and “type of work” are most important among them. They define his/her rights and obligations. Athlete is a human which permanently improves his/her skills in chosen type(s) of sport or sport discipline and participates in tournaments. High profile athlete is an athlete having athletic title and category and taking part in tournaments to achieve high results in sports. Professional athlete is an athlete who has concluded labour agreement with an employer. Thus he/she gets fees from providers and (or) salary as he/she participates in tournament and carries out training within his/her main activity. When revealing distinguished features of activity of the athlete it should be considered that it’s always in its utmost i.e. it’s related with necessity and desire to realize one of the essential values of the sport – to reach the highest results at the tournaments. Only talented people are able to achieve aims and win in sports. However, even good skills for specific type of sport which proves natural talent of the human are only base to prepare for the highest achievements. Necessary skills can be improved to maximum level only within long lasting teaching and raising of the athlete under condition of rationally arranged sport training. It’s not so easy to find people who tend to such activity and encourage them to develop their talents to the fullest. Features of successful athlete: special talent, strong motivation and desire to work hard. In general, athletes are supposed to strive for excellence and be role model, follow ethic rules and training programs and not to use illegal dope and training techniques. Considerable part of rights and obligations virtually stipulated by law defines conduct standards of athlete. These are the main ones: right to take part in tournaments; right to justice and honesty when tournaments are arranged and results of the tournaments are summed up; impartial refereeing; right to have professional couches and qualitative training conditions; their health and safety ought to be secured. If the athlete fails to comply with rules, guidelines and regulations, he/she may be suspended. Sport suspension is a suspension of athlete from taking part in tournaments. International sport federation on specific type of sport or Russian national sport federation on respective type of sport execute it. The reasons for suspension are the following: violation of rules of type of sport or provisions (guidelines) of tournaments or anti dope rules or standards approved by international sports organizations. Achievements in sports facilitate to gain higher social status. Essential criterion which considerably increases social status of the athlete is winning a slot on the national team of different level and successful performance at the biggest tournaments (Olympic Games, World championships, African Championships and etc.). Criterion to assess level of excellence which also influences social status is awarding with athletic title. Persons having prominent achievements and special merits in sports gain honorary titles. The athlete must follow sporting schedule to secure efficient training and show high results in sports. Sporting schedule virtually embraces not only working hours of the athlete (time dedicated to trainings and tournaments) but the whole period related to sport career. Such schedule may be stipulated in labour agreement for professional athletes as well as in reports of the employer and contains the following limitations: to keep proper degree of training within holidays and do additional physical exercises at home, keep weight category and follow diet, not to smoke and drink alcohol, even not to have sexual relationship, for example, within training camp or tournaments day. Present day sport demands from athletes to concentrate all energy and attention on the training, everyday preparations for important games and tournaments. Athletes bear extreme loads and psychological pressure due to competitions within professional sports. They approach limits of human capabilities which may affect their health. Athletes dedicate almost all their time to training to achieve high results. Thus they can’t fuse sport career with any other and they have hardly any chances to settle personal, legal, financial matters and everyday things. Duration of athlete’s career is strictly limited. All these facts point on increased social risks and stipulate necessity to develop and implement special support measures to provide such people with sufficient social protection. Athletes are supported by different agencies from sports mainstream, in particular – sport clubs, national and international sports federations, National Olympic Committees and other government and non-governmental organizations. Nevertheless, athletes need assistance of experienced and qualified experts with vast business contacts and deep insight of the matter (sport agent or managers) to find solutions to many issues – employment, work with sponsors and business partners, investment of earned funds, start up of business. Usually, representatives of athletes (agents) plan and arrange for high profile athletes to participate in big tournaments on invitation. They also work out commercial matters with sponsors and other organizations on behalf of the athletes. In certain cases they arrange conditions for athletes’ trainings and deliver health care. These services are rendered payable usually for interests from any amounts which the athlete wins or earns. Sport agents and administration of sport clubs and federations don’t have guidelines for each and every situation. For arranged activity to be really effective it’s necessary to find some conditions, circumstances and variables which when applied in any situation will be helpful or at least they won’t’ do any harm. However, experts offer line of major recommendations to implement social protection of the athletes: • athletes need special social protection which should be secured by different sport organizations and managers; • leading sport organizations ought to recognize professional development of athletes and stop criticizing them for earning money for performance at the tournaments (therewith incomes of athletes are subject to taxation); • sport managers should be aware of that commercialization of sport has its limit as well as sport achievements have their own limits; • athletes should consolidate their forces and protect own interests altogether and establish trade union of athletes. 2. Analysis of features of selection and support male and female top performers athletes in Kenya 2.1 Analysis of performances of athletes of the national team of Kenya in 2016-2017 After the world witnessed Lazaro Chepkwoney, the first Kenyan endurance runner to race on European soil, drop out 15 laps into the 6 mile race due to fatigue at the English Amateur Athletics Association championships in 1954, no one would have thought Kenya would go on to be a leading force in world endurance running. Kenya displayed their running prowess by winning 8 medals ranging from 400 m relay to the 10 000 m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. Leading on from then, Kenyan success has grown year on year. Kenyan’s emergence and dominance are illustrated by an increase in the contribution of Kenyan men in the top-20 all-time performances in the track distance events (800-m and upward) from 13.3% in 1986 to 55.8% in 2003.2 Kenyan (by birth) men have won 43 out of a possible 108 medals (41%) in distance events at the Olympic Games since 1990 and have won the team title at 24 of the last 27 world cross-country championships dating back to 1986. Let’s look through the results of Kenyan athletes during the last two years. At the summer Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio the national team of Kenya took the second place in the overall medal standings. Jemima Sumgong was the first Kenyan woman to win a gold medal in a marathon. Favored to win, Sumgong pulled away from her competition in the final two miles of the 26.2 mile race. Kenyan runner Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon surged ahead of her on the final lap, capturing the gold medal for Kenya in the discipline 1500 meter. Vivian Cheruiyot and Hyvin Kiyeng are the winners of the silver medals after finishing seconds in women’s 10,000metres and women 3,000metres Steeplechase respectively. Conseslus Kipruto won Olympic gold with a new Olympic record (8: 03.28), ahead of the Americans and the French. The representative of Kenya won the Olympic Games at a distance of 3000 meters with obstacles for the ninth time in a row. Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruyot won a gold medal in the 10,000 meter run. Eliud Kipchuge is the second Kenyan in history who won Olympic gold in a marathon. At the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro he won a gold medal with the result of 2:08:44 David Rudisha specializing in running for 800 meters, became a two-time Olympic champion after the race in Rio. Thus, at the summer Olympic Games in 2016, the national team of Kenya won 13 medals, six of which are top dignities. All 13 medals were won in athletics. In October 2016 in Chicago Kenyan athletes  reaffirmed their superiority in the 26 miles event after former two-times World Champion Abel Kirui and World Half Marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat ruled the 39th Chicago Marathon. Kirui and Kiplagat did not only top the stepladder but also marshaled fellow Kenyans in dominating the top positions with men taking the first 5 leading slots. In the World Masters Championships that Took part in November 2016  in Perth, Australia Francis Komu, Paul Kibet Yego and Joshua Kipchumba won the all-important gold medals for Kenya after executing unparalleled performance in half marathon and in 10,000metres, jealously guarding the Kenyan tradition in these chosen events. Komu propelled countrymen John Birgen and Philip Meto for a commanding 1-2-3 podium finish in 21Km M40 category, each clocking 1:11.06, 1:11.19 and 1:1126 for gold, silver and the bronze. Almost similar performance was realized in the 10,000metres M50 class where Paul Yego led team mate Raymond Ben for gold and silver in 33:13.34 and 33:19.16 respectively. In 10,000metres M45, Joshua Kipchumba trounced Argentina’s Troncoso and Patrick Kwist of Netherlands to win the third gold medal after finishing in 31:40.16. His opponents completed in 32:04.42 and 32:10.29 in that order. John Sang, Stephen Kihara and Stephen Kamande clinched a silver medal each after finishing runners up in 21Kilometres M45, M55 and M60, crossing the finish line in 1:12.18.01, 1:15.14.48 and 1:27.38.13 in  their respective categories. The bronze medals were won through Joseph Some Kosgei in 10,000metres M60 with the time 39:45.73 and Joshua Pondo in the Shot Put men M55 class. He managed a throw of 14:06. Although Kenyan athletes was fielding the team for the first time, the contingent managed to win a total of 11 medals- 3 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze, bringing additional glory with the Kenya’s trade-mark performance. The World Under18 Championships 2017 heralded scripts synonymous with what the country is revered for in the global athletics; winning medals. The only difference was that the scene was enacted at home with Kenya’s athletics fans actively playing the spectators as home-boys and girls burnt their lungs out pursuing international glory in their presence. The championships churned out the next generation of middle and long distant runners as the country continue making inroads in events previously assumed to be the preserve of other nations. The first on the production line to open the medal table p was the incoming 1,500m Prince George Meitemei Manangoi who enlarged the Manangois brand initiated by his elder sibling Elijah Motonei Manangoi in the same event. Just like in 1,500m where Kenya has dominated the race since the times of legendry Kipchoge Keino, Leonard Kiplagat Kibet guaranteed Kenyans the Steeplechase race will still be the domain of Kenyans after winning the second gold medal in race pioneered by Amos Biwott and his successors. Caren Chebet carried the winning streak in the girls’ class. The fourth gold medal was convincingly won by Jackline Wambui in the footsteps of Gladys Wamuyu, Faith Machariah, Janeth Busienei, Lydia Wafula, Pamela Jelimo and Eunice Sum who have dominated the two-lap race in the past. New grounds were broken in three events where talented Mary Moraa, who was branded ‘Kisii Express’, Moitalel Naadokila and Dominic Ndigiti convinced Kenyans that the country is capable of broadening medal haul when they won the silverwares in the rare 400metres for girls, 400m hurdles and in boy’s 10,000metres walk respectively. Despite of a downward descend on the overall medal table compared to previous editions, putting 15 medals in the harvest basket reaffirm the bright future the country is heading to upon the graduation of the youths to the senior ranks. In the World Championship in Athletics in 2017 in London Kenyan national team has shown the great results. The team of Kenya became the second in the medal standings (11 medals), after the team of the United States (30 medals), the third place was taken by the team of South Africa (6 medals). Faith Chepn'getich won the final race for 1500 meters. In the athletics marathon among women, held in the framework of the World Championships in London (Great Britain), Edna Kiplagat became the silver medalist was Kenya's runner (2: 27.18) losing Romeo Chelimo from Bahrain (2: 27.11). Its Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri who started the evening in style, winning Kenya its third women's World 5,000m title before Elijah Manangoi wrapped up the championships with gold in men’s 1,500m final. Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui started Kenya medal hunt with bronze in men’s 10,000m on the first day of the championships on August A before Agnes Jebet went for another bronze in women’s 10,000m the following day here. Geoffrey Kirui would hand Kenya its first victory in the men’s marathon on day three of the Championships with the 2011 and 2013 women's marathon champion Edna Kiplagat going for silver in women's marathon. Conseslus Kipruto followed up with victory in men's 3,000m steeplechase on day five. World Under-20 800m champion Kipyegon Bett won bronze in the men's 800m also on day five. Last Friday came with shocker for Kenya when Hyvin Kiyeng relinquished her World title to settle for bronze in women's 3,000m steeplechase as her compatriots flopped. Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs produced the shock of the Championships when they swept to a 1 -2 victory in women's 3,000m steeplechase dealing Kenya's quartet a major blow. However, it was a drop in performance by Team Kenya, who topped the medal standings for the first time in the history of the championships in 2015 Beijing. Kenya hailed 16 medals; seven gold, six silver and three bronze medals. Let’s analyze the reasons of the success of Kenyan runners. In Kenya people have been travelling on foot right up until today. They have to walk places, there is persistence hunting, nomadic tribal traditions etc. It makes sense then that running is highly valued in a nation where it is just another everyday activity. The skill of running long distances in parts of east Africa is like the skills of driving, banking, washing dishes, making custom t shirts or using a computer to a western city slicker. Kenyan runners had to run 20km to and from school every day. Well it turns out that this has some truth to it. Elite east African long distance runners had to travel long distances to school and did so mostly by running. Some athletes had to run upwards of 20km per day. One Kenyan coach quoted in Finn (2012) said ‘It takes 10 years of training to build enough of an endurance base to be good at long-distance running. By the time a Kenyan is 16, he is already there.’ This anecdotal comment is supported by Scott et al.,(2003) who found that a high proportion of the Ethiopian runners travelled (ran) long distances to school each day; by Saltin et al.,(1995) who showed that Kenyan boys who travelled to school by walking and running had a 30% higher V02max than those who did not, and by Onywera, Scott, Boit & Pitsilandis (2006) who found that Kenyan runners travelled further to school, mostly by running, than controls. Next we have the training methods. A Kenyan running group or a cross-country training camp is scary. Athletes need to reach an elite level before even being invited to attend. The training is at such a level that even some of the world’s best struggle. This is influenced again by the value they place on running and the fact that they need short term success. Finally we can see that genetics does play a role in the African running phenomenon but not as much as previously thought. East Africans were once thought to have a higher percentage of slow twitch muscle fibres, which would explain why they have the ability to sustain certain speeds for longer periods of time. However they have since been found to actually have a very high percentage of fast twitch muscle fibres. This goes contrary to what we believe about endurance activity. Fast twitch muscle fibres fatigue faster and are better equipped for explosive, high force, short duration activities. However the fast twitch muscle fibres that dominate most east African muscular systems has been shown to possess highly oxidative characteristics. This gives the athlete the best of both worlds. Other genetic factors influencing east African distance runners are large lung capacity, narrow hips, thin and wiry build, strong nuchal ligament and superior gait. Note though that these characteristics exist in other races of people that don’t dominate distance running. There are other non-genetic things contributing to east African endurance running performance. It must be noted that most of the Kenyan distance running champions come from the Rift Valley Province, which accounts for a mere 20 percent of the total population of the country. Also, east Africa is, on average, a high altitude group of countries in most regions and the Rift Valley Province is even higher than the other regions. Endurance athletes have long used altitude training to increase production of red blood cells and haemoglobin, which are the cells that carry oxygen through the blood stream to be distributed to the working muscles. Combine this altitudinous environment with travelling on foot and a high incentive to run and you have a perfect recipe for a champion runner. There is clearly more to the East African success story than their physiology, genetics, and childhood athletic endeavours. Regardless of physical attributes, the tougher athlete often prevails and the difference between success and failure is often more easily, and perhaps more appropriately, attributed to factors such as psychology. Kenyan runners have an advantage for whatever reason, then this has the potential to affect their performance negatively, especially if this belief is being supported by peers and social constructs. It is also necessary to note the internal motivation of Kenyan athletes to achieve success. Most Kenyan athletes become exposed to competitive running at a very young age through the traditional Kenyan way of life, experiencing at first hand aspects both of training and competition. Kenyan children and adolescents, especially from the Kalenjin community in the Rift Valley, come into frequent contact with world-class athletes from the numerous high-altitude training camps managed by Olympians. In the recent demographic study of Kenyan runners, a high proportion of both the national and international runners were motivated to run for economic reasons, tradition and Olympic glory. East Africans may now believe that they have physiological advantages that explain their success. This stable internal attribution style will have a positive effect on their future performance. Professor Vincent Onyiera in his research identified variation in motivation for running over time. “Pioneer athletes were taking part in sports with the sole purpose of representing the country. This, however, changed in the 1980s where athletes went for glory. Today, athletes are in sports for the money since sports has become a multi-billion industry,” said Onyiera. In addition, the research also identified major challenges, which if solved, Kenyan runners would be even greater . “We are yet to see the best of Kenyan runners,” said Onyiera. “Those who run are always doing it without proper programmes. There are so many Kenyans who can run (competitively) but they don’t even know about it. Leave alone in the Rift Valley.” He said Kenya doesn’t have proper talent identification and development programmes. “But I am happy the government has given cabinet secretaries the mandate to develop sports. The ministry of sports, culture and the arts needs to come out and implement talent identification and development programmes not only in athletics but all the sports,” said Onyiera. “This has to be structured, from primary school all the way to the national level. We need a different way of doing things and developing habits. We behave the way we do as resultant of what we did when we were young.” Onyiera could not understand why the country could not do well in sprints in recent events despite succeeding in some of the short distances as they could back in the years. “We have the ability and the talent but no structures.” In addition, Western lifestyles are turning to be another challenge to not only athletics but sports in general within the country and even the world over. Thus, in Kenya there are all conditions for the appearance of a top athlete including the socio-economic conditions present in Kenya, the Kenyan way of life (including typical activities, the common method of travel – walking or running – and unfavourable living conditions), Kenyan culture and traditions, favourable environmental conditions such as living and training in areas of high altitude, anthropometry and morphology, in addition to one or more genetic components. They train with incredible heart, motivation and intensity, without any of the advantages that Americans get. Aspiring runners in Kenya get no goo, no gel, no sports drinks. They have no trainers or sports medicine experts. When people train hard for years and years, that has an effect on their ability to race compared to people who have it easier. And that's why the system of selection and support of athletes, for reaching a new sport level and further distribution of athletes around the world in national teams of world powers is especially important. 2.2 System of selection of athletes of the national team in Kenya 2.3 Support system for athletes of the national team in Kenya 2.4 Obstacles / Challenges on the way of selection in the national team Worldwide success of Kenyan athletes hides inefficiencies and errors – both of omission and commission – by the administrators who run Kenya’s track and field programmes. These include: -a poor leadership structure that sees the same people. This cuts out new and fresh ideas to propel the sport forward; -a growing prevalence of accusations of corruption in selecting athletes for international assignments; -a lack of proactive action ondoping control and education. This has seen many athletes failing drug testing or failing to appear for testing; -the absence of a proper monetary compensation structure for athletes who represent the country in international competitions; -instability at the secretariat, which is the nerve center for any successful organization; and, -poor management of sponsorship. There's also a lack of support for the other organizations that identify, nurture and provide the young talent such as schools, colleges and universities. It is not easy for Kenya to completely lose her reputation as the source of athletic talent. Given the rewards that the emerging athletes earn from their effort, the pipeline of talent will continue. The biggest threat to Kenya's reputation is the desire to use drugs in the atmosphere of fierce internal competitiveness. Has to be extremely diligent in handling doping tests. This must go hand in hand with education. The consequences of not doing so are severe: Kenya could, in the future, find itself suspended from international competitions. The good performance at the Rio Olympics has been made up for the negative publicity over doping control procedures and the absence of the required law. All efforts should be geared to avoid crossing swords with the world anti-doping agency. Certainly, and the greatest obstacle is poor administration. Poor and potentially embarrassing administrative lapses were evident before and during the Rio Olympics: -two track and field officials were expelled from the Games over claims of doping; -an administrative lapse saw the world javelin champion without an air ticket to the Games - where he eventually won a silver medal; -a sprinter with dual citizenship was almost disqualified for a while being accredited using a US passport rather than a Kenyan one, and; -part of the official goalkeeper. All these lapses and the shenanigans that occur during the selection for international competitions are quite frustrating, especially for up and coming athletes. The principal avenue for a young athlete to make a breakthrough through is the selection to the national team or getting a ticket to an international meeting. When these opportunities are uncertain, some athletes have turned to looking for. The other push factor for Kenyan athletes is the sheer number of talented runners. Of the number of entrants to compete for a nation at most international events, normally to a maximum of three. Such restrictions are only the best. These factors have been contributed to some athletes. The countries they move to offer better monetary compensation. These include Bahrain, Qatar, the US, France and the Netherlands. For athletes, Who work-life span is very short, generous compensations outweigh any risks of moving abroad. Also the right to dual citizenship allows an athlete to run for another country and still have access to all the privileges of being a Kenyan citizen. Most runners who end up in the Middle East do it forshort-term monetary benefit. But those who seek opportunities in Western countries such as the US, France, and the Netherlands do it for longer term goals such as uplifting their families. Other benefits, attractive especially for young athletes, include the ease with which they are selected to run in global competitions. This translates to guaranteed monetary rewards. Many get more freedom to choose where to train and live. They therefore end up running for a foreign country, but continue to live, train and invest in Kenya. We can notice, than the organizations mandated for management of athletics in Kenya cannot be independently credited for the success of Kenyan distance running. The influence of foreign management has superior influence to the performance by Kenyan distance runners. It is recommended that the organizations such as AK, NOCK, KNSC, and the Department of Sports, Culture, and Arts must initiate or improve on athletic development programs, remuneration, anti-doping interventions, human resource capacity, facility and equipment development/upgrade, to claim the success of the Kenyan distance runners. Conclusion Kenyan elite middle and long distance runners are provided with adequate funds for training/competition and are adequately motivated. In the past, Kenyan athletes used to train as a team under the AK for the common good of the national team but in the age of professional running, the national team was not the main thing but the success for Adidas, Nike or whichever personal sponsor was involved. All this situation is because of lack of adequately motivation or fund the training/competition needs for the athletes without external assistance. That is the reason of the majority of Kenyan athletes prefer to relocate to foreign countries in search for better management. Counseling services available to athletes are inadequate, retired athletes, despite having made millions, died poor or are living in deplorable conditions due to poor counseling in investment. A few Kenyan runners have in the past been banned from international competitions after testing positive for banned substance ingested unknowingly, some after seeking unsupervised medical treatment. 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