Athletics Kenya (AK) on Wednesday held a consultative meeting with more than 400 athletes from Nandi County to discuss about their welfare and issues affecting their lives and career.
The meeting comes barely two months after the 2015 World Cross Championship winner Agnes Tirop was found murdered in her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
According to AK Director of Youth Development Barnaba Korir, the forum is aimed at diagnosing what ails the athletics sector.
Speaking at Eliud Kipchoge Stadium in Kapsabet town, Korir stated that after collecting the views from various stakeholders, the next step would be to develop strategies to mitigate and resolve the issues once and for all.
“There is no doubt that athletics have suffered for long in silence despite making our Country proud. The ongoing series of meetings and sessions will be the beginning of healing,” he said.
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, Tokyo Olympic Gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir, athletics coaches, officials and other sports stakeholders were among participants who gave their views on how to improve athletics in the region.
Among the matters that came up for discussion included sexual harassment and exploitation of young and upcoming athletes, poor investment by athletes, rogue coaches and agents, exploitative contracts among others.
The Federation has so far visited 14 stations among them Nairobi county, Embu, Machakos, Nyeri, South rift and North rift regions.
Nandi County known as ‘Source of Champion’ has 23 athletics camps which train track athletes, scholarship marathoners, road races athletes and master’s athletes. The AK director urged athletes not to shield any coach or agent engaging in unethical sporting activities.
He said unscrupulous persons having seen potential in an athlete always wants to masquerade as husband, wives, agents or managers and exploit them in various ways including financially and emotionally.
“As a federation, we are not going to allow such predators to eat where they have not sown. We require that all athletics tacticians in the country to undertake a course with us before they are provided with a certificate and accreditation,” he said.
Governor Sang called on athletes to smoke out rogue individuals purporting to be coaches, managers yet they have ill intentions and cast them into the sporting wilderness.
He promised to complete the stalled Kipchoge Keino Complex and equip it with a modern health clinic that will be providing psycho- social support to athletes.
“The facility will have qualified doctors who will offer guidance and counselling to our athletes on how to invest and live after fame,” he said
Jepchirchir thanked the federation for the meeting calling on fellow athletes to start up a saving Sacco to help them during any pandemic period.