Kenyan athletes eager to seek greener pastures in Uganda

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 00:12 |
Athletes running 10kms race along the Kisii-Chemosit Road.PHOTO/COURTESY

Lack of support, appreciation and neglect at home have led to a considerable number of Kenyan athletes contemplating changing nationality in favor of neighbouring Uganda in search of a better life.

The reasons were cited during the fourth Athletics Kenya Consultative Forum in West Pokot yesterday.

In Uganda, Kenyan athletes who have changed nationality are well catered for and even get better renumerated when they represent their adopted country in various competitions.

Speaking at Kishaunet Showground, in Kapenguria, West Pokot County, the athletes claimed that they are well appreciated there more than it happens at home.

Long distance runner Peter Gushu narrated how numerous concerns and pleas for proper training infrastructure, equipment and facilities to help boost and nurture their talents have been ignored at all fronts.

“The reality of the matter is that a big number of our athletes here have lost hope. The situation is not getting any better but worse. All we are asking for is support and appreciation that is not forthcoming,” said Gushu.

It is no surprise then that Kenyan athletes who opted to represent Uganda have gone all the way to win gold, silver and bronze medals in global competitions that Kenya could have bagged.

“Seems gold for Uganda has more value than ours , because there is no way you can explain the disparity in how our neighbors are received and awarded after major events. As an athlete I also want to feel good and appreciated. How about even naming roads after our athletes who have brought a lot of honour,” quizzed Gushu.

Marathoner Gladys Kiprotich said despite the region possessing a favourable climate, good training altitude and coupled with talented athletes, the issue of lack of facilities is one that continues to affect them.

“Even with all the above conditions, it is absolutely difficult to reach the highest level without facilities, neither the national or county government is working towards giving us tracks to train from, they are not even following up to address some of our minimum problems,” she said.

Hailing from Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kiprotich further challenged Athletics Kenya to consider awarding more athletes during weekend meetings.

“The country has abundance of talents and therefore you’d expect stiff competition at all levels, so my appeal to AK is that they award the top 20 athletes in each category so as to motivate the athletes,” she added.

Program coordinator John Kimetto lauded the impact of the meetings that have seen AK visit 15 regions across the country.

“I am happy because we have gotten the data we wanted,” said Kimetto.

“We wanted to reach as many athletes as possible, that is why we have been having the one-day event. It will be a marathon for us as a federation because we took advantage of the off-season, especially for the track athletes. After the meetings, we intend to compile the reports and come up with one detailed report for action,” Kimetto.

The final forum will be held in Kapsabet, in Nandi County tomorrow.

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