What you need to know:
- Peter Gushu, long distance athlete, who trains in Kapcherop, Elgeyo Marakwet, said the government needed to change the way it handled athletes.
- “Athletes are not being treated right. Government officials will always want to come in and praise our good performance yet they can’t provide a good training track,” said Gushu.
Athletes from North Rift have hit out at the government for neglecting them.
Speaking Tuesday during a consultative forum organised by Athletics Kenya in Kapenguria, West Pokot County, the athletes said most of them are contemplating changing citizenship to compete for other countries which value them.
Those who spoke said that both national and county governments have neglected them yet it is them who fly the country’s flag high around the globe.
The also pointed out that neighbouring Uganda facilitates and rewards her athletes better than Kenya, where there are inadequate training facilities for runners.
Peter Gushu, a 5,000 metres and 10,000m runner who has been training at Kapcherop in Elgeyo Marakwet County, said the government must change how it handles athletes going forward.
“As athletes, we have not been treated right. We don’t get the recognition we deserve despite representing our country well in various races where we do well. Afterwards, government officials will always want to come and praise our good performance yet they can’t provide a good training track,” said Gushu.
He also challenged the government to review the prize money for Team Kenya medalists in international competitions.
“Athletes who perform well in other countries like Uganda are rewarded with vehicles or permanent houses but Kenyan athletes are promised Sh1 million which also takes forever to be released to them. This has made some of us to consider moving to those countries,” he said.
Lack of proper training facilities also came up during the meeting , with the athletes saying they are often compelled to either travel to Kitale in Trans Nzoia to train at the Ndura Sports Complex Stadium which is a private facility, or train by the roadside and risk incurring injuries.
Marathon runner Sarah Yano urged athletes to respect their spouses and to solve marital problems amicably.
“Couples should always look back and think about their humble beginnings. Once athletes start earning good money, a lot of challenges normally set in. Let’s practice self-discipline and always remember that we have families and dependants who need us,” said Yano.
She urged Athletics Kenya to employ more female coaches and physiotherapists to guide female athletes who tend to fade away as they transit to the senior categories in the hands of rogue coaches.
AK executive member John Kimeto who is also the coordinator of the forums said that the federation had taken over the payment of prize monies to athletes from race organisers.
“To avoid loss of prize money due to athletes after races, race organisers will deposit prize money with the federation before athletes. Going forward, athletes will receive their money once results of anti-doping tests have been submitted by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya,” said Kimetto.
The next forum shall be held in Kapsabet, Nandi County on Wednesday.