KAMPALA- With less than a month to the Commonwealth Games due July 27-August 3 in Glasgow, Scotland, every athlete would be focused on fine-tuning their legs.
But after 10 days in camp, some athletes are unhappy with the tactics of coach Peter Okot Omong, who was assigned by Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) to train them.
The athletes, most of whom major in middle-distance races (800m and 1500m), are insisting on training with coach Raphael Kasaija who has handled them throughout the season rather than Omony, who specialises in field events. Omony did shot put, discus and hammer throw in his active days as an athlete.
“To be sincere, my training has suffered a setback because I am changing a coach towards a big event,” a runner who preferred anonymity for the fear of being reprimanded told Daily Monitor recently. “There are some drills he (Omony) insists that we do but I just can’t do them because they don’t add anything important to my preparation,” another runner said after a warm-up.
When Daily Monitor visited the camp at Namboole stadium on Monday morning, there were two groups training separately.
Whereas Apollo Okello handled five middle-distance runners on the outdoor tartan track, US-based sprinter Felix Okello and UAF technical head Faustino Kiwa were busier than Omony as they conducted a 150m session with sprinters indoors.
Omony, however, insists he has the credentials to train middle distance runners. “We are trying to merge our interests and experience in handling this team,” Omony said. “I carried out a six-month general (track and field) training course in 1983 at the German Athletics Federation that no other coach has done in Uganda,” Omony said of his abilities. World and Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich last month said that UAF must change the criteria of appointing coaches.
“For anyone to be assigned to handle a national team, they must have trained at least three of the runners before at club level,” Kiprotich said.
If his advice were to be considered, Kasaija would be the coach to travel to Glasgow since he has handled Winnie Nanyondo, Ronald Musagala, Dennis Opio and Halima Nakaayi and Emily Nanziri.