Migori martial artists feel the brunt of Covid

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Members of Migori Taekwondo Club. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Barry Silah @obel_barry

When the government announced announced suspension of sports to curb the spread of Covid-19 early in the year, Felix Odhiambo Opiyo thought normalcy would return in a matter of days.

Opiyo and a group of martial artists in Migori depend on the sport to eke out a living and when the year’s programmes were rolled out, they had a number of local and international events which they were looking forward to participating in.

Their taekwondo coach, Chesoni Wagaka, who led the Migori team to South Korea, Rwanda and Africa Games in Morocco last year, says they were looking forward to a good year.

“Missing some tournaments affected us so much. In April, we were to go to Canada for a juniors championship but that was cancelled due to Covid-19.

All gyms were closed by the government, so there were no active and gradual practices, meaning fitness levels went down. We have to retrain and start afresh,” said Wagaka.

Opiyo and his colleagues have been waiting for the situation to change, but with no luck.

“This has been growing from bad to worse. Many who used to depend on sports are growing restless. Some have quit all together,” Opiyo said.

Nicholas Anyuor, who is karate coach and also director of communications in Migori County, said the pandemic curtailed many important programmes.

“Martial arts clubs were coming up in all towns of the county. Migori town alone has 10 martial arts clubs but they were all closed,” said Anyuor.

“We were to host end of year regional championships for karate, which we cannot do because of the Covid 19.

We were to have a number of tournaments and gradings in Kisumu, Kakamega, Maseno, Homa Bay and Kisii and Migori,” he said.

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