Kenyan high jumpers still in the stone age


Using tactics she learned from the game of “bladder”

If you attend any Kenyan athletics meet at secondary school level, you will be amazed at the sheer athleticism and leaping ability of the high jumpers. However you will be dismayed to find that their technique leaves a lot top be desired.

In 1968, American high jumper, Dick Fosbury revolutionized the event by creating a new jumping style that left the crowd at the 1968 Olympics amazed. Previously, all high jumpers leaped either head first facing forward or legs first. Fosbury shocked the crowd at the Mexico Olympics by leaping backwards head first and then snapping his spine to throw his legs in an upward motion. In the process he won the Olympic gold medal. The style became known as the Fosbury flop and is considered the standard style used today.

45 years later and in Kenya the top secondary school athletes still use methods that belong in the stone age. It is amazing that after all these years, Athletics Kenya have not seen it fit to send qualified coaches to the grassroots to teach the proper technique. Go to any primary school in Kenya and you will find children who excel at gymnastics. These primary schoolers with their athleticism, flexible bodies and fearlesness when it comes to heights would be prime candidates for events like the high jump if AK were to ever get their act in order.

Also the fact that there is no mattress to land on at most high school meets pretty much eliminates the possibility that a competitor might consider using the Fosbury flop. Even with the massive sponsorship that Brookside dairies channels to school games, getting proper equipment and proper coaches to the schools is still wishful thinking.

There is plenty of field events talent at the grassroots thats going to waste. One only need look to Julius Yego aka the “youtube man” to see that Kenya can excel in the field events if school age competitors are given proper instruction.

Below is a video of a high school meet in Rift Valley province, Kenya

Author: riadha