Our sportsmen and women deserve more sympathy

Ferdinand Omanyala

Ferdinand Omanyala smiles during an inteview with journalists at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK on August 2, 2022.

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • As fans, therefore, we ought to be sympathetic and empathetic towards our sportsmen and women.
  • The professional life of an athlete is never easy and on certain days, things just don’t work out. Let us continue supporting Team Kenya and show them love on all platforms, including social media.

The first eight months of the year have been a busy time for the sports world in terms of major competitions.

It is a huge sigh of relief to see normalcy return to this sector after the sucker punch of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In athletics, all the talk currently is on the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, coming less than a week after the World Championship in Oregon.

With the Diamond League series set for afterward, the guarantee is that there will be no shortage of entertainment on the menu as far as performances on the track and field are concerned.

This is not forgetting the World Marathon Majors races, such as London, New York and Chicago that are yet to come.

However, as expected, many athletics superstars have flattered to deceive in recent times despite expectations to the contrary.

As Athletics Kenya (AK), we lift our hands and concede that there are various races at the World Championship and Commonwealth that did not turn out the way everyone expected us to perform.

As we have committed to several platforms, we will do a post-mortem to understand the root causes of the subpar performances with the aim of rectifying them in future international assignments.

As fans, however, we should be constructive in our criticism, being cognizant of the fact that our athletes are also humans who go through challenges like everyone else.

We have read in the press of sportsmen and women in faraway lands admitting they have struggled with mental health issues, especially during the Covid-19 period.

For example, world 400m bronze medalist Matt Hudson-Smith admits for many years he suffered from mental and physical health issues and even attempted suicide last year.

Multiple Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has severally spoken of her mental health struggles as has American Simon Biles.

These examples go to show that our sports-persons are not immune to mental health struggles, especially in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which halted many sporting competitions.

Subsequently, the sports calendar has been crammed as the industry seeks to make up for the lost time.

The proximity of major competitions to one another – such as the World Championship and Commonwealth Games – may put enhanced pressure on the athlete who must work harder to meet expectations, even at the risk of injury.

As fans, therefore, we ought to be sympathetic and empathetic towards our sportsmen and women.

The professional life of an athlete is never easy and on certain days, things just don’t work out. Let us continue supporting Team Kenya and show them love on all platforms, including social media.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.