Sport

Final AK forum revisits plight of athletes in virus lockdown

Final AK forum revisits plight of athletes in virus lockdown

Jane Seurey, a marathoner, speaks during the Athletics Kenya National Consultative Forum in Kapsabet, Nandi County on December 1, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool |

During the coronavirus lockdown, many athletes were affected financially with some even calling time on their careers for lack of competitions.

In Wednesday's final Athletics Kenya National Consultative Forum held in Kapsabet, Nandi County, athletes narrated how it became a challenge to stay competitive.

The forum sessions started in Ngong, Kajiado County, last month and visited 13 regions.

They were prompted by the murder of 2015 world cross country champion Agnes Tirop in October, unearthing the tribulations and gender based violence athletes suffer in silence.

In Kapsabet, brokers and shylocks took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to dispossess desperate athletes who could not service loans.

Speaking at Wednesday’s forum, Jane Seurey, a marathoner, said athletes had suffered in the hands on unscrupulous lenders.

Many have lost hope

“Athletes went for the shylocks because they knew that the pandemic will come to an end but it is still here with us. Now athletes have nothing and many have lost hope and given up on the sport,” said Seurey.

She also said that stakeholders should come up together and join hands with the county government and have various races that will help upcoming athletes because Kenyan athletes are so many.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang advised athletes to have reliable friends, arguing that Agnes Tirop may have died because she couldn’t share her tribulations.

He said that his county government would engage the national government to repair roads for athletes to comfortably train on.

“We understand athletes have various challenges in terms of facilities but we are still negotiating with the national government on the completion of the Kipchoge Stadium in Kapsabet,” Governor Sang said.

"We also want to negotiate with ministry of transports so that they can allow us to repair some roads which are key to athletes especially during their training session,” said Sang.

According to AK director of Youth Development Barnaba Korir, the team that went all the 14 regions capturing information from athletes, a report will be compiled and a document will be prepared for actions to be taken on what came up.

“It has been a successful meet the athletes’ forum across the country and those who went across the country collecting data will have a meeting and they will be able to come up with a document that will be presented to the national government, county government and athletics stakeholders so that action can be taken immediately,” said Korir.