Kamau setting pace


SPRINTER Leroy Kamau has completed his competition programme in the United States and now heads the Papua New Guinea rankings for 2021 in the 100m and 200m, with clockings of 10.71 seconds and 21.48s respectively.
Following a period of three weeks in Kansas with his PNG teammates settling into the US, Kamau moved to California in May for more favourable training conditions and competition opportunities.
“Due to the high costs involved and the quarantine expense on the return it was not possible for Leroy’s coach Nelson Stone to accompany him,” Athletics PNG (APNG) president Tony Green said in statement on Monday.
“After consultations, the decision was made to let Leroy go ahead whilst we continued to look for ways to get Nelson across, however, the funding just wasn’t there.”
Kamau was fortunate to be able to stay at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Centre near San Diego.
The Centre was formerly owned and operated by the US Olympic Committee but is now administered by the city.
“Covid-19 restrictions meant that Leroy had little interaction with other athletes and coaches, but he had everything else that he needed all in one place,” Green said.
“It’s a fantastic set-up there.”
Towards the end of his stay there, Kamau was able to connect with Bashir Ramzy, one of the US track and field elite coaches, and it was after a couple of sessions with him that Kamau posted his season’s best time of 21.48s for the 200m.
Kamau said that he found the staff very helpful and that the Centre was a great place to train.
However, most athletes there have their coaches with them and this disadvantaged him.
“I know I would have done much better with coach (Nelson) around, but I need to maintain my form and will continue working hard and wait patiently for the right time,” he said.
In conclusion, Green maintained that APNG was committed to supporting its elite athletes, but had very limited resources.
He thanked the Oceania Athletic Association and US Olympic Committee for coming on board to assist with the cost for Leroy to stay at the Centre and compete in meets there.
“With the Pacific and Commonwealth Games on the horizon, our athletes must have a continuous programme and that includes exposure to high-level competition,” Green said.