In Summary
  • I admire the unity displayed by our athletics fraternity, and sorority, especially in the time of grief.
  • The latest such unity has been demonstrated in the fund-raising towards funeral expenses for Kenya Defence Forces sprinter Sylvester Muteti who was killed in a road accident, and who will be buried Wednesday at his Katumani home in Machakos County.
  • No sooner had a WhatsApp group been created - with former steeplechase world champion Milcah Chemos (who is also the athletes’ representative at athletics Kenya) leading from the front - than over Sh200,000 was raised for the fallen sprinter from among the athletes.

I admire the unity displayed by our athletics fraternity, and sorority, especially in the time of grief.

The latest such unity has been demonstrated in the fund-raising towards funeral expenses for Kenya Defence Forces sprinter Sylvester Muteti who was killed in a road accident, and who will be buried Wednesday at his Katumani home in Machakos County.

No sooner had a WhatsApp group been created - with former steeplechase world champion Milcah Chemos (who is also the athletes’ representative at athletics Kenya) leading from the front - than over Sh200,000 was raised for the fallen sprinter from among the athletes.

The contributions were headed to the Sh300,000-mark Monday as the athletes also launched another drive for the family of the late Harriet Rudisha, sister of Olympic and world 800 metres champion and record holder David Rudisha.

World 800 metres record holder David Rudisha (left) during the burial of his step-sister,  Harriet Namunyak at their Oltanki home in TransMara West, Narok County on December 4, 2017. PHOTO | JOEL REYIA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

World 800 metres record holder David Rudisha (left) during the burial of his step-sister, Harriet Namunyak at their Oltanki home in TransMara West, Narok County on December 4, 2017. PHOTO | JOEL REYIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Harriet died from cancer and was buried Monday, with contributions towards the education of her son, Bahati Letina, having realised over Sh100,000 by Monday.

While congratulating the athletes on their teamwork and spirit, the current trend also highlights the need to have a strong, well articulated athletes’ welfare organization.

It is hardly sustainable for the athletes to support one another through impromptu harambees. Such a welfare organization, crafted along the lines of a savings and co-operative society, will offer a more structured way of handling athletes’ personal issues, including bereavement.

There was a ray of hope when the Professional Athletes’ Association of Kenya (PAAK) was launched, but it soon turned into a political vehicle whose chief agenda appeared to be to spar with Athletics Kenya officials, rather than enhance athletes’ livelihoods and look after their welfare.

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that it false-started and has since run aground.

Legendary athletes Moses Tanui and Douglas Wakiihuri have been leading proponents in push for an athletes’ welfare organisation that will also help cater for ageing legends who are often forgotten despite their immense contribution to Kenyan sport.

Senior athletes must lead from the front by setting the pace for the formation of such a grouping.

While many of our elite athletes continue to be shining role models in society, sadly, some of the top stars hardly help junior and upcoming athletes.

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