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Kipchoge gives more Covid-19 relief aid to needy Iten athletes

Wednesday June 24 2020
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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, in partnership with Eldoret’s Shanir Wool Shop Limited and the Sobak Shah family, distributes food relief to athletes in Iten on June 22, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BERNARD ROTICH

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge Tuesday donated food to 100 athletes in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

The legendary athlete together with a well-wisher and director of Shanir Wool Shop Limited in Eldoret, Sobak Shah, interacted with vulnerable families.

They urged the athletes who benefited from the donation to continue training individually and also ensure that they observe the social distancing rule.

Kipchoge, who is also the Olympics marathon champion, has been distributing food to vulnerable families who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic since March when the first case was announced in Kenya.

Kipchoge, who was making his third visit in Iten, said he wanted to support as many athletes as possible as they wait for races to resume.

"Many athletes have been going through a tough time because of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m happy to support the ones in need. This is the third time we are distributing food to athletes in this region," Kipchoge said.

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"We got donations from well-wishers, and we are happy because many families, including the old and vulnerable, across the North Rift region will get something that will keep them going.”

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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge (second left), in partnership with Eldoret’s Shanir Wool Shop Limited and the Sobak Shah family, distributes food relief to athletes in Iten on June 22, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

For the last three months, Kipchoge through his Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, has donated food in Kericho, Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties. 

Kipchoge is Wednesday expected to distribute food to another 50 athletes in Eldoret and 50 in Kaptagat. He urged more people to support the noble cause.

"Sportsmen and women across the country have been affected badly by the virus. They get their daily bread from athletics. Now that races have been cancelled and they have no income, I'm calling on  corporate bodies to join the initiative of supporting the runners. This situation is not permanent, we shall come out stronger after the virus is contained," Kipchoge said.

For his part, Sobak said that it's high time the community and corporates came together to help the people who are in need.

"We decided to join Kipchoge in supporting vulnerable families. I would like to ask more people to come in and support athletes in this good gesture," Sobak said.

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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge (third left), in partnership with Eldoret’s Shanir Wool Shop Limited and the Sobak Shah family, distributes food relief to athletes in Iten on June 22, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Road racer Queen Njoki, who was one of the recipients of the food donation, said that she was touched by the legend’s generosity. 

"I have received food for the second time because we have been through tough times due to the virus. We have been depending on races abroad but since the year started we have just been training without having races to compete in," Njoki said.

Indian athlete Amresh Durrel, who is training in Iten, said he was happy once again to get aid.

"I have been training in Iten for the last three months and I'm happy once again to meet and interact with Kipchoge. I look forward to run like him. I came to Iten for training and I couldn't go back home. I have been depending on my parents for support,” said the athlete who competes in 5,000m.

"It has been a tough journey for me due to the virus, but I believe we will emerge stronger when competition resumes.”

Athletes were given maize, wheat flour, cooking oil, rice, sugar, salt and soap.

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