What you need to know:
- He spoke on Wednesday evening as he received two-time Boston Marathon champion Moses Tanui who paid a courtesy call at Nation Centre.
- Tanui is also the first man to run a sub one-hour half marathon (59 minutes and 47 seconds on April 3, 1993, in Milan).
The Nation Media Group (NMG) will soon roll out mentorship programmes to highlight the achievements of Kenya’s sports legends, building on their success to inspire the future generation of stars.
NMG’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gitagama said Kenyan sportspeople remain uncelebrated at home despite their impeccable role as the country’s ambassadors, a trend that needs to be reversed for posterity.
“We are extremely proud of our athletes, especially those who have transformed themselves to remain relevant after their careers in competition. The young ones need to learn from this success to build their careers,” Gitagama said.
He spoke on Wednesday evening as he received two-time Boston Marathon champion Moses Tanui who paid a courtesy call at Nation Centre.
Tanui is also the first man to run a sub one-hour half marathon (59 minutes and 47 seconds on April 3, 1993, in Milan).
He also won the world 10,000 metres title at the Tokyo World Championships in 1991, only one of three Kenyans to achieve this feat, the others being Charles Kamathi (Edmonton, 2001) and Paul Kipkoech (Rome, 1987).
Bizarrely, Kenya has won only one gold medal over the 25-lap distance at the Olympic Games – through Naftali Temu at the 1968 Mexico Games.
Tanui, a founding director of the Eldoret City Marathon, said he’s happy to partner with NMG in promoting athletics at primary school level where he will mentor young stars in a programme to be run jointly with NMG.
“The media needs to build sportspeople. Outside Kenya, sportspeople are given more respect than that they are accorded at home,” Tanui reflected.
“In fact, there are only two types of persons the national anthem is played for beyond our borders – the President and sportspeople whenever they are on the podium,” Tanui added, with a touch of humour.
The distance running legend, who won the Boston Marathon in 1996 and 1998, noted that sports is a vehicle that brings people together and ought to be accorded better recognition.
“In 2008, for instance, the Beijing Olympic Games brought the country together even at a time when the country was going through difficult moments,” he said.
“Also, you all saw how united we were in triumph when Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier in the marathon during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna in 2019.”
Gitagama, an ardent follower of sport, appealed to the successful retired athletes to make time to inspire the young generation of runners and teach them, among other issues, the importance of running clean.
“It’s disappointing to see senior athletes banned for doping while they would actually still win without using performance-enhancing substances. These athletes continue to spoil the hard-earned reputation of Kenya and a sporting giant,” the CEO - who was accompanied by NMG’s Head of External Affairs and Marketing Clifford Machoka and Commercial Manager Mercy Kamunya - pointed out.
“If the athletes are not well educated while they are still young, in primary school, they they will go astray,” Gitagama said.
“The Nation Media Group will continue to offer coverage to highlight these young stars on our platforms because this is how scouts will pick them and develop their careers.
“We shall use our platforms to tell society the value of sports. We shall work closely with the county governments and the education sector on this.”