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Neglected Sports Heroes in Kenya

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Neglected Sports Heroes in Kenya

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Kenyan athletes have for decades displayed stunning shows in both road and track races, but here at home, they do not receive as much attention and recognition as they get in foreign countries where they are hailed as legends.

The story of Delilah Asiago speaking at Citizen Tv is one that joins the ever-growing list of Kenyans abandoned by the government upon their retirement from active sporting.

Delilah Asiago won several major races across the globe specializing in long-distance running, including marathons and despite winning the races, Asiago now lives in abject poverty making ends meet by picking tea in Cherangany.

Her fortunes began changing in 1999 after testing positive on banned substances that saw her receive a two-year ban from the athletics body.

“They said like that but I was sick then took my drugs and when I went to be tested I was found to be positive hence I was banned for two good years,” she narrated.

Delilah says her money from various events was used in purchasing pieces of land.

Watching swimming sensation Michael Phelps get a chance to commentate during the Olympics and even get invited to speak in various shows for his expert views shows how we’ve let our Kenyan athletes down.

It saddening that sports veterans have been left to battle on their own, without any help from the government.

Veterans remain the only source of wisdom for most sporting individuals who come to them for advice and even coaching.

Will the government start giving sporting personalities priority just as retired politicians after retirement?

Further in Nandi County, Amos Biwott, 72, is just an ordinary maize farmer. Only a few old men know that he won gold in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. He was also forgotten after retirement.

Fatwell Kimaiyo, who holds the 13.69 national record in 100m hurdles is just a common elder in Kapsabet.

Suter Chemweno from Elgeyo Marakwet, lined up in 800m at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, retired as an Agricultural Extension Officer, and now lives in Kapkoi village.

Several athletics heroes have died without any recognition for the medals and pride they brought to Kenya.

It is time to have the Heroes Act of 2014 implemented to see our heroes rewarded for their efforts that put Kenya on the world map.

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