Tattered running track at Kericho Green Stadium poses grave danger to athletes
At the onset of devolution, Kericho Green Stadium was among the first local sports facilities to be fitted with an artificial running track by the devolved units.
But five years down the line, the running track is in a state of disrepair, exposing athletes to injuries during training and competitions.
Repeated patching of torn areas on the running track has made it very bumpy, especially at the final stretch of the track where 100 metres are held.
Apart from football, no serious athletics competition has taken place in the stadium since it was upgraded.
Cumulatively, Kericho County government has so far spent more than Sh110 million in upgrading the main dais, construction of offices, changing rooms, terraces for spectators, a VIP holding room, and to lay an artificial track at the stadium. The artificial track is now worn out.
The stadium was constructed by Kericho’s first governor Paul Chepkwony, and was opened for use on June 20, 2019. The athletics track has been repeatedly repaired, and athletes have complained it is not fit for use.
Kibaton Corporation Limited, the company that won Sh37 million tender to lay the tartan track in the stadium five years ago, admitted in an interview with Nation Sport that the facility was in dire need of repairs.
“Indeed the tartan track is in a state of disrepair due to storm water which seeps through as a result of poor drainage in the stadium,” Emmanuel Chirchir, a director of Kiaboton Corporations Limited, said yesterday.
Chirchir said that Kericho County government was yet to pay the company the whole contract fee. He did not say what the balance was.
But Nation Sport independently confirmed that Kericho County government was yet to pay Sh9 million to the company, being the last installment of the contract sum.
“We are waiting for the county government to rectify the storm drainage so we can start repairing the synthetic track. The repairs we have previously undertaken did not bear fruit because water seeps through,” Chirchir said.
Kericho County Governor Erick Mutai said his administration was looking into how to improve the stadium so as to encourage sports tourism and to enable youth to develop their talents.
“We are not satisfied with the work done in the stadium and the anomalies have to be corrected so that we get value for taxpayers’ money that was used in the upgrade of the facility,” Mutai said.
On November 12 last year, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba said work done in the upgrade of Kericho Green stadium was shoddy and not worth talking about.
“It is a shame that the county government used so much money to undertake shoddy work in the stadium. We must ensure that there is proper planning, execution of work so that taxpayers can get value for their money and sports men and women are able to train in a world-class facility,” Namwamba said in Kericho during the burial of legendary athlete Kiprugut Chumo.
Last year, the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Services that was chaired by former Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja (now Nairobi Governor) recommended further upgrade of the facility and ordered more repairs to be undertaken.
The raft of recommendations included construction of proper changing rooms, proper storm water drainage system, and expansion of public terraces to accommodate more spectators during competitions in the stadium that has been the home ground for former Football Kenya Federation Premier League team Kericho Zoo FC.
It was also recommended that the existing fence be reinforced and emergency exits be constructed, the main dais be remodelled, and more public toilets be constructed.
“It is impressive the county government upgraded the stadium after years of neglect so as to nurture talents among the youths. But there is a need to undertake repairs and further upgrade the existing facilities,” Sakaja said at the time.
Chepkwony said the contractor was bound to maintain the facility for a given number of years as per contract signed. Nation Sport did not get access to the contract.
The facility situated at an altitude of 2,002 metres has on a positive note played a leading role in promoting sports tourism in the South Rift region since it was upgraded, with the business community benefiting from it.
Last year, some 32 referees from across the country were trained at the stadium.
For three years, the stadium has been a beehive of activities with Football Kenya Federation picked it as a training ground for referees and match commissars.
Last year, the stadium hosted Kenya Communications Sports Organization (KECOSO) games.
In 2019, the stadium hosted the Kenya Inter-Counties Sports and Cultural Association (KICOSCA) games bringing together 47 counties in the country.
DNation bodytext: Legendary footballer Peter Dawo used to train at the facility as a member of Kericho All Stars in the 1980s.
Currently, budding and international athletes from the region train at the stadium, which also hosts football matches.
Tomorrow: Llight at the end of the tunnel for sports men and women in Uasin Gishu County as work resumes on Eldoret 64 Stadium
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