3 July 2012

Kenya: We Should Protect Athletes Like Kemboi

3000m world steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi is going to London after all despite the assault charges against him. ( Resource: Kenyan Olympic Hopeful Kemboi Cleared for Games )


I wish to express my deepest concern at the happenings of last week involving one of the athletes scheduled to represent our great country in the London Olympics expected to start later this month.

Last week, when I joined the Prime Minister for the dinner hosted by the mothers of the London bound athletes at the Safari Park Hotel, I saw optimism amongst these great ambassadors of our Nation.

They had a lot of hope and confidence that come the start of the event; they will lead the world in singing the Kenya National Anthem and lift high our flag.

At the event, I saw the World 3,000 Meters Steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi Yano and other athletes share light moments, perhaps strategising how to triumph over the rest of the world on the track in London.

But I am deeply distraught by the incident in Eldoret last week involving Kemboi; a young and promising Kenyan who's intent is to continue making Kenya proud in such world competitions.

As a mother, I feel there is too little Athletics Kenya, the Kenya National Sports Council and the National Olympics Committee - NOC are doing to protect our athletes especially those selected to represent Kenya in prestigious events like the Olympics.

I suggest that these three bodies charged with the responsibility of nurturing, mentoring and managing sportsmen and women in Kenya to make it a point that whenever athletes are selected to take part in world major events, they are provided with maximum security to avoid incidences that can jeopardize their participation in such events and ruin their illustrious careers.

We need the likes of Kemboi to have their careers secured so that they can continue making us (Kenyans) proud in the International arena. There should be official security provided for our sportsmen and women as it is in other countries.

Mrs (Dr.) Ida B. Odinga is the wife of Prime Minister (Dr) Raila Odinga

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