He said they have had only four runners doing duty for Kenya in the last 10 years and the situation is worrying. He said most steeplechasers who have excelled at youth and junior level are veering off to road races and this is costing the country a lot. “We have only had the Olympic 3,000m champion Brimin Kipruto, world champion Ezekiel Kembo, Africa and Commonwealth champion Richard Mateelong and Koech Kipsiele for the last 10 years and this is not good for Kenya, especially in an event that has been known to be our preserve,” he said.

He says the greed for quick money was driving most runners into road running and this has impacted negatively on their life span in athletics. “You can only be able to enjoy the fruits of athletics if you grow gradually from the track to the road. The reason why people like Paul Tergat have had a long span in athletics is because they grew from track to cross country before hitting the road.

He said it will be bad for Kenya if one of the four steeplechasers gets injured because there are no replacements. He says most of the promising steeplechasers like Pius Muya have not come through at the senior level. “We have had a number of promising youth but they always cross over to road races and this trend is worrying,” he added. He blames agents for this and says they are misleading athletes.

Top runner, Richard Mateelong concurs with the coach saying the situation is worrying. He said as much as he is still actively running, at some point he will need someone to succeed him. He says competition in the steeplechase is becoming really competitive and says countries like Uganda and Ethiopia are threatening to overtake Kenya.

Mateelong feels something needs to be done to attract more runners into the steeplechase. Mateelong won the 5,000m race as the seventh and final National Bank of Kenya/AK meeting closed at the Kinoru Stadium, Meru over the weekend.