Why are the Kenyans whining about ‘only’ two golds? Tanzania didn’t even get charcoal | JamiiForums | The Home of Great Thinkers

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Why are the Kenyans whining about ‘only’ two golds? Tanzania didn’t even get charcoal

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Mwembetayari, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. M

    Mwembetayari JF-Expert Member

    Aug 20, 2012
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
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    To hear and read Kenyan sports commentators you might think, if you are Tanzanian, that they are making fun of you and your country’s performance at the recently concluded London Olympics.

    They have been pillorying their team for what they see as an under-par performance, and from the look of things there will be a low-intensity witch hunt in and around Nairobi in an attempt to find out just what made Kenya put up such a “poor” show.The temptation is always there to think that these are incredibly arrogant fellows, seeing as Kenya scooped 11 medals, including two gold, when Tanzania could not manage even a charcoal.

    One could be moved to wonder whether this self-belief of Kenyans in matters athletic is not being carried a trifle too far.

    It would serve one well to understand where the Kenyan critics of their team are coming from and to see their plight through the prism of a people who expect the very best and for whom even that very best may sometimes be not be enough.

    Wanting always to be super achievers — and having achieved superbly in the past — they see no reason for lacklustre outings of the London kind. Kenyans see themselves as belonging to a higher, world-beating cluster of sporting nations.

    Of course they had expected to make a clean sweep of the steeplechase, which has come to be known as a Kenyan event, and they had counted on a couple more medals in the middle distances to take them a little closer to the top of the track and field medal log.

    They were to be disappointed, and even the marathon gold, which at one stage of the race looked like it was boarding for Embakasi, gave them the slip, and it was not made easier by the name of the Ugandan victor, which sounded oh so Kenyan.

    No, the Kenyans are not about to compare themselves with those who talk a lot about sports development but have never learnt to put their money where their mouths are, those who have the same attributes as the Kenyans have but have simply refused to cast off the shackles of underachievement.

    One breezy afternoon in 1987, I, alongside several Tanzanians, watched in awe as a certain Billy Konchellah took another gold in the All Africa Games 800 metres at Kasarani, Nairobi, with the spring of a gazelle and the bounce of a Maasai dancer.

    That afternoon, I also learned that the Konchellahs were a big Maasai clan straddling the border, and that at least half of them were to be found in Tanzania. Only the Konchellahs of Kenya broke athletics world records while ours…

    A jinx still haunts this country when it comes to exploiting its resources for its own benefit, be it the fabulous mineral wealth, the huge agricultural potential or the fascinating mosaic of its human resource.

    It defies reason that Rift Valley communities to the north of our border can take advantage of the rarefied air they grew up with to run like the wind while the same people on our side of the border show little interest in speed. It’s even more troubling when in the past we saw what these people can do.

    I laughed alone as two English TV commentators during the 10,000 metres race kept agreeing that with the British gold in that race East Africa’s domination of the event had been broken, ignoring the fact that the gold medallist in question was Mohammed Farah, a name impossible to beat in East-Africanness.

    All this shows is the hunger for sporting glory and medals for nations worried about their dignity and self-esteem, and there is no reason why these should not grow an interest in our unexploited athletic potential, which they will lure abroad, naturalise and send to win medals.

    It’s happening already, but it is still on a small scale. It will grow as the Brits, say, come looking for mo’ Mo Farahs.