Kericho County is well known for track and field championships for budding athletes who go on to become world beaters setting records in different races and winning medals but roller skating is now gaining ground among the youthful population.
Athletics is an endurance sport that requires primarily muscular strength to provide energy for the runner to perform but the thrill of balancing and riding on roller blades is drawing the attention of students both young and old in Kericho town.
Like most sports roller-skating has different levels from beginner to advanced.
In an interview with KNA during a skating clinic for over 100 skaters, drawn from Kericho, Siaya, Nakuru and Nairobi skating clubs on Sunday, along Temple road in Kericho town, Sprints Skating Club Kenya coordinator Vincent Muli said the joint training meet was geared towards grooming young upcoming skaters to become better as the love of the sport grows.
“It is more of a joint training clinic where we bring all our champions for purposes of grooming and nurturing the younger ones. Here we try to correct issues related to skating and athletics. We are trying to expand the need for champions in Kenya. We do our best to create time for those well established to pass the talent down to beginners in the sport so they show them how they trained to reach where they are today,” said Muli.
Muli who also doubles up as a coach for his skating club with over nine years’ experience revealed that each of the skating clubs have champions who represent their teams both locally and internationally.
The training of the sport is divided in different categories notably; children from as young as three years to 13 years , Juniors from ages 14 to 19 years to senior level from ages 19 to 30 and the masters level where this category is for coaches who are 30 years of age and above added coach Muli.
The Kericho skating club representative, Floss Skaters Kericho Sally Mango who has ten years’ of experience in the sport said the trainings helped in spreading popularity of the sport across the county with children from various schools embracing the sport.
“Parents have been supportive of the sport and even support us during our clinics or competitions. They encourage the young ones to pursue their passion by supporting them in buying the required sporting gear which include the skin suits, roller skates and helmet. In Kericho we have 20 registered members but we can train up to 50 children who are learners from different schools within the County,” added coach MsMango.
In an interview with KNA, Kenyan champion Speed Skater Ishmael Imani, 19, said he started skating way back in 2017 and two years after joining the sport he bagged four bronze medals during the 2018 Africa Roller Games held in Egypt. He has participated in many local and international races notably 2019 World Roller Games held in Spain and the 2019 Africa Roller Games held in Congo.
He added that he is currently preparing for the 2022 World Skate Games to be held in Argentina.
“My journey to skating happened in 2017 after leaving church and I passed through a skating rig in Nakuru on my way home and I got inspired to join the skaters. I train to be the best with my coach Vincent Muli who really inspires me to work at my best. I was an all-round student while in my high school Langalanga Secondary school, Nakuru as I would balance my academic work and my skating trainings, which included travel to participate in both local and international competitions. Having completed my Form-four in 2020 I will still continue training and doing well in my skating with my speciality being in the 100 metres sprint.
The event ran smoothly and was a great success with as children as young as three years old participating in the different short distance races of 100 metres sprint with much ease.