Plans afoot to take beach sports to the people: NOC-K – Capital Sports
KILIFI, Kenya, Mar 19 – From amateur to professional levels, bolstering spectator support at sports games and events impacts both performance and enjoyment.
It’s for this reason that the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) is creating an atmosphere where beach sport athletes will feel appreciated to enhance both their physical and mental performance.
But NOC-K Secretary General, Francis Mutuku reckons that spectator fervor can only be enhanced where the level of competition is tiptop.
To this end, NOC-K has indeed spelt out elaborate plans to churn out as many beach stars as possible; given the fact that sports are built around stars.
“People want to come and watch sports at their best. Today (Saturday), we have been flabbergasted by the turn out of the players and spectators alike.”
“It has actually surpassed our expectations. In wrestling, boxing and judo for instance, we know some of these sports just by their very nature, have a special place in the hearts of the fans.”
“But then again, it’s prudent to strengthen our skills so that people will come, watch and consume quality performance. So the essence for beach sports will be to increase the skill level by working closely with the coaches and federations,” expounds Mutuku.
“Local participation is of paramount importance. I think if we could have a strong team from Kilifi, we could be able to attract local people who will be able to associate with their people,” he quips.
Mutuku reiterates that the overwhelming numbers witnessed at the Beach Games in Kilifi County will only work to enhance quality.
“We were afraid that coming all the way to Malindi would be a constraint in terms of logistics. We were also worried that the players would not make it here. Federations had assured us but we thought that would not happen. Getting over 500 players is extremely good. We have visited here before and we know this park is a busy one.”
Mutuku asserts that NOC-K is just getting started on Beach Sports and the best yet to be seen.
“We knew most of them come out in the evening and we deliberately scheduled our event in the evening to cater for their needs and that’s why the basketball 3X3 went on into the night so that everybody could come and enjoy the sport.”
The NOC-K boss goes on to explain that the interest in beach games abounds, “as people generally love sports but it’s the supply that has been lacking.”
“I think we’ve probably played it out of reach; where spectators do not have access to come and watch. We are learning that we need to bring the sport back to the people.”
“Actually, one of our prayers is actually that one of the people the federation will identify will be from this County because the moment they see that their person is in it, this will definitely inspire everybody who is around,” the NOC-K SG disclosed.
But even if we don’t, we believe the interaction between the top players and the ones who have just been playing for fun will be inspiring. Sports is all about inspiring somebody and seeing what they can be at the best level,” Mutuku added.
Mutuku also emphasizes on the fact that early planning is the key for the success of these games.
“Early planning is common around all activities, so engagement with all the stakeholders will be key for us.”
Being just the start of better things to come, Mutuku opines that inter-county engagement will be a principal source of support and confidence, “with a mutual sense of pride being felt by both players and supporters.”
He goes on to explain that performing with a sense of support is the easiest way to raise morale within the beach sports at the grassroots.
“Bolstering encouragement within the tbeach fraternity will definitely provide a push for renewed enthusiasm.”
He concludes: “Next year there will be beach games. In May this year there will be beach games around the lakeside region. We can do preliminaries around the counties where we go, and be joined by other like minded people so that we get all the athletes who are interested to be able to participate. We don’t want to keep any player out in terms of participation.”