Speech by H.E. Hon. William S. Ruto, EGH, Deputy President of The Republic of Kenya, During trials to select The National Athletics Team which will represent the country at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia in July 2013

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

It gives me great pleasure to join you for this specialathletics event.  The Kenyan World Athletics championship trials are unique because they parade what is arguablythe biggest concentration of world athletics stars outside the Olympic and World Championship events.

Moreover, this isthe only competition in the world where you will find the Commonwealth Games Champion, the World Champion, the World record holder and Olympic champion all competing in one event to get that precious chance to represent the country at the next world competition.  

And all too often, these great stars fall to talents of unknown compatriots who more often than not also go out and conquer the world.

I want to say a big “thank you” to all the athletes who have participated in today’s event.  I extend my thanks to the coaches and managers, who prepared the athletes and the technical officials who officiated at the event.  I also thank the organizers, Athletics Kenya, for a job well – done.

Kenya’s enduring athletic dominancegoes back to the early 1950’s. However Kenyans will remember with nostalgia the exploits of great athletes such as Nyadika Maiyoro, Wilson Kiprugut Chumo, Naphtaly Temu, Kipchoge Keino, Seraphino Antao, Daniel Rudisha, Naphtaly Bon, Robert Ouko, Benjamin Kogo, Charles Asati, Henry Ruto and others who conquered the World to ensure that our flag and National Anthemare recognized internationally.

More recently, Kenyans have become very familiar with names of Ruth Waithera, Paul Tergat, Catherine Ndereva, Pamela Jelimo, Vivian Cheruiyot, Ezekiel Kemboi and David Rudisha.

These Kenyan athletes have done our country proud. A grateful nation salutes all the gallant patriots whose exploits have defined Kenya’s lasting brand. For this I want you to know all Kenyans immensely admire you.
But Ladies and Gentlemen, while acknowledging the success stories of these great sportsmen and women, I want to note that our success has been limited to middle and long distance events.

We are yet to make our mark in sprint races and field events.  We must invest in this area and exploit the talent; that I am positive we are endowed with.

Sport is becoming more technical and scientific and only the fittest and best-preparedathletes will emerge victorious.

Therefore we must prepare for that future by identifying talent earlier and putting in place programmes to nurtureit.  These programmes should bechanneled through schools, athletics clubs and sports academies.

Ladies & Gentlemen

I am aware that it will not be possible to achieve success in athletics, and other sports disciplines without proper infrastructure and equipment.

For this reason, the Jubilee Government is committed to improving existing stadia and constructing new ones in the next five years.  

We will also provide modern facilities and equipment for the training of our up-coming Athletes.

In return for your continued sterling service to our country, we must provide wholesome and all round support to athletes to enable you continue as our ambassadors and source of pride.

Your predecessors did us proud in the last edition of the championship in Deagu, South Korea, where they emerged the best overall team.  You have no choice but to either outperform or equal their feat.

Finally, other than athletics, I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Harambee Stars midfielder Victor Wanyama who has just signed for English Premier League side-Southampton becoming the first East African to play in the League. He has secured a fitting stage to showcase his talent to the world.

I wish you a very successful outing in Moscow and we look forward to the Gold Medals!

Thank you and God Bless you.

DEPUTY PRESIDENT