Athletics coach explains measures taken to curb false starts among Kenyan sprinters

Athletics coach explains measures taken to curb false starts among Kenyan sprinters

Abigael Wafula 08:22 - 25.05.2024

A veteran athletics coach has explained how sprinting coaches in Kenya are working around the clock to curb the case of false starts ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The issue of false starts has been the talk of town recently and Kenyan sprinters are not an exception as they gear up for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Top Kenyan sprinters including Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala, newly-crowned national 100m champion Mark Otieno, and national 200m champion Samuel Chege among others need to have mastered the art of not jumping the gun as they eye major championships coming up including the Olympics.

For instance, Omanyala has found himself in the wrong books when it comes to false starting with Essentially Sports reporting that he made a false start during the 2022 and 2024 Kip Keino Classic. Track Spice also observed that the Commonwealth Games champion also false started during the Atlanta City Games.

However, veteran coach Stephen Mwaniki believes false starting is not a crime and it is a normal thing that is being dealt with as the athletes eye the Olympics. He insisted that world record holder (100m and 200m) Usain Bolt false started at the 2011 Daegu World Championships and was disqualified.

Follow the Pulse Sports Kenya Instagram handle for more news.

“False start is part of the game because even when I remember, Bolt was denied the honours to run a major championship because he had false started.

“It is something that is part of us and as coaches, we are working hard to ensure that the athletes don’t beat the gun because you can’t beat the gun.

“We are trying to work on that and it’s something that’s not easy but very soon, we shall get there and be on top of the world in terms of starts,” Mwaniki said.

He added that the issue of false starting is not alarming and with the time remaining, coaches would have addressed that and the athletes will be ready before Paris.

Mwaniki added that athletes need to master the art of not beating the gun. He also noted that false starts are brought about by nervousness or self-doubt, something that is very normal for an athlete to experience before a race.

“It’s not a major problem but we tend to think that we shall be able to rectify it because all of us, especially the Kenyan coaches are skilled, they know what they are supposed to do and they will be able to synchronize the starter and the athletes so that they will be able to start in a better way.

“It’s not worrying because we are working towards it and because we have a few days towards the Olympics, we shall work on it and rectify that. It happens once in a million and it’s part of this game.

“We hope that our athletes will get it right and we shall be able to do well in terms of starts and be able to run our race accordingly. A false start is tension and the athletes also need to get it right.

“They need to realise that you can’t beat the gun and they need to wait for the gun before taking off and so it’s something that even top athletes in the world have been caught. It’s not a major problem but we are all working towards that,” he added.