Sports can unify and rouse a nation

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge (right) with Iqbal Gelu aboard Kenya Airways flight from London to Nairobi.

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Sports is an exuberant activity, so crossing limits becomes natural.”
  • Sports can also play a great role in giving direction and purpose to our youth.

The recent victories of Eliud Kipchoge and Amos Kipruto on consecutive weekends in the Berlin and London marathons respectively once again brought immense pride to the Kenyan nation.

Never have I been so engrossed in marathon commentary as I was on September 25 watching Kipchoge shave half a minute off his own world record in a new best time of 2 hours 01 minutes 09 seconds in the Berlin Marathon.

Then last Sunday, Kenya’s sole entry in the London Marathon men’s race powered his way to a great win.

The joy they elicited from the millions of Kenyans scattered around the world following their every step was immeasurable. We truly felt the pride of being Kenyan.

Come to think of it, the feeling of nationalism cannot be removed from the dream of nation-building.

The exploits of our athletes have certainly bound the citizenry together, in the process developing a feeling of patriotism and unity that helps us momentarily forget our day to day challenges and political affiliations.

Karl Marx spoke too soon when he described religion as the opium of the masses. A latter day Karl Max would probably add sport to his description of the opium of the masses.

I recall the national men’s rugby sevens team, Shujaa’s historic win of the 2016 Singapore Sevens.

The reaction in Kenya was unmitigated joy. There was a collective “Yes, we did it!” response across Kenya, something that clearly brought out the emotional connection between fans and sports.

Andrew Amonde holding aloft the Singapore Sevens trophy was and still is reminiscent of the multiple times Kenyan athletes have triumphed on the global stage, building a national sentiment that brings with it a shared sense of purpose and belonging.

Sports indeed plays a massive role in nation-building. You see, sport is able to bring out and even promote qualities such as discipline, determination, teamwork and a passion for fitness.

Let’s face it, we live far lazier lives than our predecessors, largely as a result of technological advancements that have made our lives so much easier, consequently reducing our level of physical activity.

Through sport, we more often than not acquire lifelong qualities such as teamwork, ethics and sportsmanship.

Indian yoga guru, Jagadish “Jaggi” Vasudev, popularly referred to as Sadhguru has previously said, “Only when your activity is exuberant, will you keep crossing limits.

Sports is an exuberant activity, so crossing limits becomes natural.”

Sports can also play a great role in giving direction and purpose to our youth.

Kwambo is a KRU media officer. [email protected]

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