Kipchoge’s feat an inspiration for better nation
Eliud Kipchoge’s achievement as the first man to run the marathon in under two hours vindicates the belief that sports is a prime asset that can greatly enhance a nation’s fortunes.
The outpouring of solidarity among Kenyans, as billions across the world watched Kipchoge create history and redefine the limits of scientific innovation and human endurance, is a lesson to the nation.
What a weekend it was for Kenya as just a day after Kipchoge’s heroic exploits in Vienna, Brigid Kosgei shattered the women’s marathon record in Chicago, raising the country’s stature even higher on the global stage.
Among those who reveled in the historic performance of our marathoners was former US President Barack Obama who said: “Staggering achievements on their own, they are also remarkable examples of humanity’s ability to endure – and keep raising the bar.”
Responding, Kipchoge thanked Obama saying: “In life we hope to inspire others. Thank you for inspiring me. It would be my greatest honour if we could meet and discuss how we can make this world a running world, as a running world is a peaceful world.”
Indeed, Kipchoge has been a true inspiration to Kenyans who forged the perfect picture of a united and peaceful people as they watched history unfold.
True to his character, Kipchoge maintained his depth of humility at the end of his epic race when he appealed to the State to invest in sports development by funding infrastructure and facilities.
Sports is one way of creating social harmony, Kipchoge advises. It is also an avenue of creating income-generating activities for the youth, helping address the mounting challenges of poverty and unemployment.
The feat achieved by our heroes who long made us a “running Kenya”, is a wake-up call for urgent action on the sorry state of sports countrywide. It was reassuring for Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed to promise a more intensive State involvement and funding within the next few months.
Kipchoge’s historic achievement was the result of meticulous planning and scientific innovation. If the same rigour and dedication could be applied on other sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, the country could reap the dividends of the ticking demographic time bomb of the youth bulge.
Kenya’s elite athletes hail from the Rift Valley, also known as the country’s breadbasket. However, farmers in the region are currently grappling with a myriad of challenges.
We should learn from the management and technical support that ensured the success of Ineos 1:59 to involve the youth in farming as a source of employment and community development.
Tomorrow, October 16, is World Food Day amid worrying trends in Kenya’s and the global agricultural economy. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with the theme ‘Our Actions are Our Future’ mirrors the correlation between sports and agriculture, that has seen the cream of our world-beating athletes flourish from a unique environment with abundant agricultural resources.
To honour our sports heroes, we should ensure the future generation of sportsmen and women are nurtured with the knowledge that nutrition builds health bodies and minds.
According to FAO, for decades, the world was making progress in the fight against hunger. Now, the number of undernourished people is on the rise again.
More than 820 million people, or roughly one in nine people, are going hungry. Further, unhealthy diets have now become the leading risk factor for disease and death worldwide. It is paramount that healthy and sustainable diets are affordable and accessible to everyone.