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Athletes’ demonstration against killings

Local and international athletes held a demonstration in Iten town against Gender Based Violence (GBV) as they continue mourning over the killing of Damaris Muthee last week allegedly by her Ethiopian boyfriend.

Viola Lagat, a 1500 metres’ runner said while both male and female athletes suffered from GBV, female athletes were more affected as most agents signed contracts with their husbands/boyfriends.

“The athletes feel enslaved because they do not get their prize money, all the proceeds goes to whoever signed the contract. One makes the money but it doesn’t come to their accounts, they have no control of their money,” a bitter Lagat lamented.

She added that there were many coaches extorting money from the female athletes whom they befriend but in actual sense they are not genuine but are in the relationship for the money.

The athletes called on the government and the Athletics Kenya (AK) to work together to address the welfare of athletes saying many were suffering both mentally and physically but had nowhere to turn to.

They called for frequent counseling and mentorship from both the government and AK saying a one off event after a tragedy has occurred would not solve the issue.

Ms. Lagat said she was surprised after the killing of Agnes Tirop to know that there were psychologists and other professionals employed by AK to deal with challenges facing athletes wondering what they do in offices instead of assisting the athletes.

Joseph Njuguna an athlete training in Iten called on the government to register all athletes training in the country so that they could know who is in the country and where.

He also called on countries which benefit from Kenyan athletic prowess to also come to their aid. “Muthee was running for Bahrain but till now we have not heard anything from that country regarding our colleague,” he said.

Keiyo North Deputy County Commissioner Julius Maiyo reminded the athletes that security starts with an individual and therefore called upon them to take charge of their lives and report any case of violation to the police.

Most of the killings are as a result of money or relationships gone sour. It is therefore important to know whom you are engaging with and be on the lookout for any sign that the relationship is not progressing well,” he advised.

Noting that the government greatly values the athletes, Maiyo said that those who kill may also be under the influence of drugs and therefore called on athletes to also say no to drugs as they say not to GBV.

Athletes take to the streets of Iten for a peace walk to demonstrate against the killing of athlete Damaris Muthee

The DCC said this was not the time to point fingers but to come together to address the situation and come up with a solution.

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