Souvenirs can boost athletics

Globally, Kenya is renowned as the home of world-beating athletes. Kenyan athletes have not only dominated athletics competitions globally, but they also hold world records in various races.

Other than benefiting from the ambassadorial role that these athletes play, Kenya can also use athletes’ memorabilia to harness its athletics potential for the benefit of future generations. As memorabilia, running shoes and competition kits not only have huge sentimental value to athletes but can also be used strategically to tell the country’s athletics story to the future generation of runners.

In the recent past, Kenyan athletes who win races abroad have donated their competition kits, running shoes and spikes to be displayed in museums abroad.

Despite being home to world-beating athletes, Kenya has not used such memorabilia to her advantage.

Olympics and world 1,500 metres champion, Faith Kipyegon, is the latest Kenyan athlete to donate her running spikes from last year’s World Athletics Championships held in Budapest, to the Museum of World Athletics. Kipyegon made history in Budapest, becoming the first woman to win both the 1,500m and 5,000m at the world championships. While it’s commendable for Kenyan athletes to donate memorabilia to the Museum of World Athletics, we feel Kenya is losing some of its finest athletics treasures to other countries. Such memorabilia can help inspire future generation of athletes.

We feel some of these artefacts can be kept at a sports museum locally. Athletics Kenya has a museum at Riadha House, and the government is also putting up a heritage museum at Uhuru Garden in Nairobi, but there is lack of coordinated effort on how to make the best use of memorabilia from Kenyan sports personalities.

The scenario is replicated in other local sports federations. We urge the government and local sports federations to act fast to secure some of these memorabilia and historical information for the benefit of the country and future generation of athletes.