(Xinhua) -- Kenya’s newly crowned Coach of
the Year Japhet Kemei has warned athletes not to be
complacent after the retirement of Britain’s Mo Farah
from track competition.
Farah, who is the world and Olympic
10,000m champion, hung up his spikes to focus on
marathon and road racing starting this year and will not
be in Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games.
However, Kemei, who has been honoured
for nurturing several talented athletes including former
world 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono and Olympic
1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich says the country is
not out of the woods yet.
“The withdrawal of Mo Farah from
5,000m and 10,000m should not make us celebrate but
on the contrary our athletes should do more and be
wary of other upcoming athletes from other
countries,” he said.
Kemei picked out Ethiopia, emerging
USA and Arab countries as serious contenders to take
over Farah’s throne and Kenya must never think for a
second that gold medals in the two longest track
competitions is theirs to lose.
“The competition will be even stiffer.
Kenyan athletes must work around the clock to study
what Farah’s edge was and improve on the same.
Stronger athletes will emerge and we must always be
on the lookout lest we are left in our strides just
as the Briton did to Kenyans,” said Kemei.
World half marathon champion Geoffrey
Kamworor, Olympic bronze medallist Paul Tanui, Leonard
Barsoton, Bedan Karoki are some of Kenya’s best athletes
in 10,000m, but they all fell short of Farah’s bar.
Already Kamworor and Karoki have ditched track
competition for the marathon but Kemei said there will
be more athletes emerging through the ranks to take up
their positions on the track to supplement on the
efforts done by Tanui and Barsoton.
“It is these breed of upcoming
athletes that worries me. They must never doubt the
ability of other countries overtaking Kenya in this
competition even if Farah is retired. Kenya must
stake claim to this event and we must always look
out for potential challenge,” he added.
After the Commonwealth Games, athletes
will test serious competition in the IAAF Diamond League
meeting, a 14-tier competition, which starts in Doha in
May and ends in Brussels in September. Winners of the
IAAF trophy will automatically win a ticket to the 2019
World Championships in Doha.