Syombua calls for end to gender-based violence

Helen Syombua

Kenyan sprinter Hellen Syombua (right) works out with Teak Kenya’s lead physiotherapist Nassib Twaha at the Fukuoka Prefecture Kurume Sports Centre on July 17, 2021.

Photo credit: Edward Alusa | Team Kenya

What you need to know:

  • She lauded Athletics Kenya for organising the ongoing national forums during the tour in Nyeri where athletes presented views on their social welfare.  

Kenya's 400 metres national record holder Hellen Syombua has said no woman should go through gender-based violence in this country.

She lauded Athletics Kenya for organising the ongoing national forums during the tour in Nyeri where athletes presented views on their social welfare.  

Syombua, who was in Team Kenya for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the late former World Cross Country champion Agnes Tirop, said that many people are going through a lot of problems and the best thing is to open up and avoid such scenarios in future.

She said that a lot of women are suffering in silence and Tirop’s death was widely reported because she was an international athlete.

“The forums will open our eyes as athletes and this is a game changer because we have a lot of people going through gender-based violence. My advice for the married couples is to always listen to one another and try to solve issues in an amicable manner so that we don’t end up losing lives. Violence is unacceptable,” said Syombua.

The 400m specialist also warned upcoming female athletes to be on the lookout and beware of preying coaches and husbands who want to get wealth through their sweat.

Syombua said that she is eyeing a place in next year’s World Championships in Eugene, USA.

“We have started another season and I will be working hard because I still don’t have the time to compete in the World Championships and my first assignment is to qualify for the games next year,” she added.

Judy King’ori, a sprinter, said that there is a disconnect between the local officials and athletes adding that many talents stagnate due to lack of guidance.

“My plea is to ask the federation to make sure that they recruit many coaches and chaperones to guide sprouting talents in various fields,” said King’ori.

The forum also saw athletes request the federation, county and the national governments to speed up the completion of Ruring'u Stadium which has been under renovation for over five years.

The County Executive Committee member of Education and Sports in Nyeri County Margaret Macharia also asked athletes to take care of one another and always listen to their seniors as one way of ending marital problems.

“We have lost some of our good athletes under funny circumstances and we need to support them to invest not solving such cases. Love should not be a deathbed,” said the CEC.

During the forum, stakeholders are given an opportunity to air their grievances before holding separate sessions which consists of female athletes, male athletes and coaches.

On Friday, the forum shall be held in Nyahururu in Nyandarua County where more than 100 athletes are also expected to attend.