Sport

Eliud Kipchoge pushed for countrywide athletes' stimulus

Eliud Kipchoge pushed for countrywide athletes' stimulus
  • Sarah Jelagat, who is a road racer, couldn’t hide her joy after receiving her food ration, saying she has been struggling to put food on the table.
  • “I was preparing for a road race in the United States of America in March, but it was cancelled due to the virus and since then I have just been training to keep fit,” said Jelagat.

Eliud Kipchoge has appealed to more well-wishers to contribute towards the Covid-19 food stimulus programme for athletes, saying he’s eager to see the programme roll out to the rest of Kenya.

So far, the focus of the relief food has been in the Rift Valley region where the Olympic champion has himself distributed food to athletes in Kericho, Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties through the Ministry of Sport, his Eliud Kipchoge Foundation and other well-wishers.

On Wednesday, Kipchoge was in Elgeyo-Marakwet County again to assist athletes in his training base of Kaptagat after well-wishers Zaharia Hassanali and family in collaboration with Eliud Kipchoge Foundation gifted 24 athletes with food aid.

Kipchoge said many athletes have been suffering and need support because they can’t train on empty stomachs, forcing him to reach out to various corporates to help reach the vulnerable.

With more support from well-wishers, Kipchoge said he will go across the country to help athletes, footballers, volleyball players and any other sportspersons in dire need of support.

“I have been doing this for four weeks now, and I’m trying to reach those athletes who are vulnerable,” the world marathon record holder said.

“Today, I managed to meet 24 athletes who benefited from the exercise. I know how tough it is to train in an empty stomach and I will always support the upcoming in this exercise including those who are in other events.

“In these hard times, I know what the athletes are going through, and I would urge for more support so that together we can beat this pandemic which has affected the athletes’ lives.”

With elite runners depending on races across the globe, cessation of sports events due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus has forced the athletes into a tight financial corner.

Kipchoge also thanked Sara Janmohamed, who made 100 masks for the Olympic champion’s foundation, urging more youths to be innovative.

“I was touched by Janmohamed, who is still in secondary school, who was able to make 100 masks which I have also distributed to athletes. I would like to urge the youths to be more proactive in the fight against the Covid-19,” he said.

He urged athletes to continue training hard hoping that the next season would be better if the virus is contained.

“For now, apart from the food distribution, safety is more paramount but when competition resumes we shall come out stronger as athletes as we look forward to a better season,” said Kipchoge.

Kipchoge is preparing for the much awaited duel with Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele at the rescheduled London Marathon on October 4.

“Right now, safety is my priority and I will soon be starting my training and when that time comes, I will be able to tell you my training programme,” added Kipchoge.

Ismail Cheboror, one of the athletes who benefited yesterday, said he was touched by the support from the athletics legend and he is looking forward to be like him in future.

“I’m happy for the support I have received which will keep me going in my training. “Kipchoge is God-sent and I want to be like him in future because he always inspires me,” said Cheboror.

Sarah Jelagat, who is a road racer, couldn’t hide her joy after receiving her food ration, saying she has been struggling to put food on the table.

“I was preparing for a road race in the United States of America in March, but it was cancelled due to the virus and since then I have just been training to keep fit,” said Jelagat.