Athletes laud NOC-K career fair

Ismail Changawa plays his backhand shot to David Oringa and Allyson Onya during the Britam Kenya Open mixed doubles final on June 25, 2016 at Nairobi Club.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Some of the current active Olympians who will attend the sessions as guest speakers and mentors include former Kenya Sevens skipper Humphrey Kayange, World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri and 2015 World javelin champion Julius Yego.
  • It is expected that at the end of the workshop, the athletes will be aware of transferable skills from sport to life, be aware of personal skills, opportunities and resources that they can maximise on and will be able to enter confidently into a dual or post-career.

Athletes want their respective federations to do more in educating and sensitising them on career transition among other important things in life away from sports.

The athletes drawn from disciplines across; shooting, athletics, rugby, weightlifting, handball, tennis among others were speaking on the sidelines of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) workshop dubbed "Athlete365 Career +" at Pride Inn Conference, Nairobi.

The two-day workshop that ended Wednesday was attended by about 60 Kenyan athletes from NOC-K affiliated national federations.

It targeted elite athletes who are in mid-careers, balancing sport and education and athletes close to or in the process of making their transition from sport.

International Olympic Committe (IOC) educators and promoters of their Outreach Programme, Kady Kanouté Tounkara from Mali, Inas Hussein from Egypt and Lebanese, Tony Tarraf, took the athletes through the sessions via Zoom.

Kenya's top ranked tennis (male) and golf (female) players, Ismael Changawa, 24, and Naomi Wafula, 22, indicated that even though this was the first time they attended such sessions, things now won't be the same again in terms of their career path, financial management among other things.

National team and Ulinzi handball player Alexina Ambani and National 400m champion Mary Moraa also hailed the initiative.

"These sessions have been enlightening and quite timely. I have never attended such since I started playing tennis since a junior," said Changawa.

"You see when you are young, you tend to be extravagant with every money you get from tournaments. You spend on things that are not beneficial but when you hear it from people with experience at this tender age, your perception of life changes completely, " said Changawa, adding that NOC-K and its affiliates need to engaged athletes more on these career and life topics.

"I will now make wise decisions. I will always jot down what I want to achieve and ensure I execute as planned both in the game, education and when it comes to a time when I will transit to other things like business or coaching," said Wafula.

Moraa said the workshop was a good follow up to what Athletics Kenya does during their annual Athletes Conference.

"This is quite exciting and I believe it will make us better sportsmen and women not only in field of play but also social life. There is more to life outside the pitch or ring," said Moraa, 20.

"I now have the skills that will allow me plan better."

Ambani described it an an amazing experience saying she now knows what to do as she plans to transit from playing to coaching in handball.

"I will definitely disseminate what I have learnt to my colleagues both at club and national level. I won't be doing justice to the game if I just sit on what I have learnt," explained Ambani.

NOC-K Acting Secretary General, Francis Mutuku said "Athlete365 Career+" is a programme that empowers athletes to maximise their education and employment opportunities and helps them stride confidently into a dual or post-sports career.

"It supports athletes at all stages of their career, helping them discover their potential and plan for their life beyond the world of competitive sport through a blend of advice, training and peer-to-peer learning," said Mutuku.

The programme is an initiative of the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) and is delivered together with The Adecco Group.

Beyond the Career+ curriculum, NOC-K has organised awareness sessions for the athletes on use of social media, personal finances and medical issues.

Some of the current active Olympians who will attend the sessions as guest speakers and mentors include former Kenya Sevens skipper Humphrey Kayange, World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri and 2015 World javelin champion Julius Yego.

It is expected that at the end of the workshop, the athletes will be aware of transferable skills from sport to life, be aware of personal skills, opportunities and resources that they can maximise on and will be able to enter confidently into a dual or post-career.

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