Kenya: Protect Us From Predators, Athletes Tell Athletics Kenya

23 November 2021

Nairobi — Athletics Kenya (AK) this Tuesday held another consultative forum with stakeholders in Strawberg, Uasin Gishu County during which various issues came to the fore.

One of the threats to many young careers is the presence of unscrupulous coaches and agents who mislead athletes into wrong choices and prevent them from realizing their potential.

The 2019 Bostona Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono to anticipate these challenges and make the right decisions to mitigate them.

"I would like to urge upcoming athletes to always be ready to face many challenges including lack of training facilities because the industry is flooded, and many people depend on themselves or their parents. You must know that to be an elite athlete you have to go through a lot of issues," said Cherono.

The 2019 Chicago Marathon champion also castigated predators in the athletics industry who cause rifts in many athletes' families by misleading one of the spouses.

"There are people who want to always depend on wealth they didn't work on and this is what has brought problems. Athletes should learn to be independent and stick to one person so that they won't clash later due to wealth," added Cherono.

He advised athletes to seek assistance at the first instance of problems but to be wary of whom they reach out to.

The 2019 Strasbourg Half Marathon champion Janet Ruguru raised the alarm over the safety of athletes' security while training in Kaptagat forest.

"Kaptagat has always been the best place to train in and we have been training in the forest for a long time but what happened last month shocked many because an athlete was almost raped but we are happy she managed to rescue herself," said Ruguru.

Although, the region has many scholarships, athletes asked AK to develop proper structures to shield athletes from conmen who may exploit the demand for these opportunities.

Responding to the concerns, AK executive member John Kimetto said the federation is now better informed on the issues affecting athletes thanks to the consultative forums.

"We are in the third week and we have managed to get many issues resolved because the federation will have to act on some issues immediately while others will be looked into and forwarded to the Ministry of Sports," said Kimetto.

The next session will be held in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

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