What you need to know:
- I remember telling Eliud Kipchoge how much I admired him and he was very happy to hear that. From just interviewing him, I learned a lot.
- His simplicity was admirable. The only challenge I got is that he goes straight to the point. He is someone who will not elaborate on his words.
- I remember I asked him about the people he looks up to and he just said “WSR”. I was waiting for him to say more and I realised he was done.
Winnie Atieno, 27, is a former track and field athlete turned Features Writer. Winnie, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Kiswahili from Moi University, excelled in cross country and 25-lap races while in primary and secondary school.
She started running in Class Three, but two injuries forced her to quit the game.
She picked a hip injury while in Class Seven, and in secondary school, she had to quit athletics for good due to a nasty toe injury.
She says she greatly misses the energy and fitness levels she had while she was an active athlete, as well as the trophies and the joy of beating opponents.
Who do you look up to in sports and also in media?
I adore Eliud Kipchoge. He motivates me so much. And Faith Kipyegon. She has given the world her best. I love Kipchoge because he is simple. My dad nicknamed me Kipchoge when I was growing up. I loved the nickname because I saw myself winning a gold medal, but it never came to pass. At the moment, whenever I watch athletics, I feel revived. Athletics makes me so happy.
There are two people in the media who inspire me – Kenyan TV anchor Yvonne Okwara, and Daily Nation journalist Daniel Ogetta. Yvonne challenges me so much. She is someone I’d love to associate with. Dan inspires me because of his writing skills. He writes his articles in a very unique way. The way he plays with words in his story makes you enjoy reading his articles.
Education is very important. I will give an example of myself. If I would have neglected education and focused on athletics alone, maybe I wouldn’t have reached where I am today. I remember my teachers would encourage me to pursue both fiercely. They would tell me, “If you are an athlete and you’re not educated, how will you take care of your medals? It is important that you carry the two along. Learn to manage your time. It is very important you do that because the only thing you will be given for free in this world is time. How you utilise it is what makes you different.”
From your experience, how important is education to athletes?
It is important to be educated and knowledgeable, so that if one fails, you have the other. A good example is myself. I did not go far with athletics because of injuries, but I’m now doing well in the media. I don't know what would have happened if I had not taken my education seriously. You must have a fallback plan.
The media landscape right now is not doing as well as it used to, how are you faring on?
So far so good. I enjoy being in this industry. It has taught me a lot. I cannot forget the first time I met Eliud Kipchoge. I only got to sit down with him for a discussion because I was in the media. I even wrote his story. He is somebody I had admired since I was in primary and secondary school. Media has made me meet some of my role models and I take great pride in that. Being in the media is fascinating.
I remember telling Eliud Kipchoge how much I admired him and he was very happy to hear that. From just interviewing him, I learned a lot.
His simplicity was admirable. The only challenge I got is that he goes straight to the point. He is someone who will not elaborate on his words. I remember I asked him about the people he looks up to and he just said “WSR”. I was waiting for him to say more and I realised he was done. So, it is upon you to think who WSR (Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto) is. He is not somebody who gives much information, just like me.
You must have a strategy. As an athlete, you have to be strategic. Nobody will come to tell you it is time for practise. It’s upon you to spare time for you to practise. For example, to win my races, I used to run just behind the person who was leading, so that in case they got tired I could make my move. In the media, you also have to be strategic to succeeded. You also must double your efforts because if you don’t, you will have no food on your table.
What life lessons have you picked from both athletics and media fields?What's your advice to someone interested in following your footsteps?
Know what you want. My dream was to join a university after high school and I did. In high school, my dream was also not to rank below position three in our class and I managed to do that. If you know what you want, then go for it. Don't be lazy. Apart from knowing people, you should also know God. He is the alpha and omega. I’d say coming to Nation Media Group was an act of God. I never knew anybody when I came to NMG, but only God. I was just passing by the Nation Centre when I heard God’s voice telling me to get in there. From there, I got an attachment and then the job, so know God.