alexa The Kenyan spirit and promise are on show in Beijing - Daily Nation

The Kenyan spirit and promise are on show in Beijing

Wednesday August 26 2015

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
More by this Author

It's been a good week for Kenya. Much like Obama, for reasons to do with our psychological need to identify with anything that is even remotely Kenyan as soon as it is famous, athletes in Kenya are a major unifying factor.

My timeline on Twitter yesterday was alive with tales of David Rudisha and Nicholas Bett, aside from the idiots who decided that women should not have women who do laundry in their houses, which was infinitely less important than gold medals.

Nicholas Bett won gold in a race no Kenyan had ever won, and already there is talk of him beating everyone at the Olympics come 2016. David Rudisha is in spectacular form after an injury – but secretly, we all knew that nothing was going to get him down.

Vivian Cheruiyot, even after they joys and struggles of childbirth, has managed to put a baby and another medal under her belt, and we got to see Ezekiel Kemboi shine again with his fourth steeplechase title.

It is as if the IAAF games were a reason for Kenyans to prove that we are still the best at what we do. Not only have they been exciting races for Kenyans – Usain Bolt is amazing to watch as always, even though I was surprised that Justin Gatlin is very real competition.

Gatlin didn't have to take drugs all those years ago. He was one of the leaders of his sport and yet he still did. But now, after his five-year ban, he is proving that he can still do what needs to be done on the track, surpassing even those who have stayed on it while he was away, like Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey.

KENYA NEEDS 'TRAINING'

We are a nation that triumphs in adversity.

I am always quick to condemn the seemingly irreparable corruption in our country. Just like doping in sport, there are many things that have been done in Kenya that really didn't need to be done.

Our new highways and bypasses are fantastic, but they would have happened anyway had we actually implemented the plans for those roads that we have had since independence.

So many of the new developments that we are only seeing in this reign have been in the works for a good long while, yet they are only coming up now.

I know we are a young country, but I also feel strongly that we should have learnt from other nations' mistakes. A country's system collapses completely under archaic dictatorship and unfair taxes. Add that to a politics based solely on tribe and ethnicity, and we're doomed.

But Kenya still rises – incredibly so. We are unmatched on the track. Our economy is growing. We remain a financial and ideological hub. And our people, like our athletes, thrive.

Maybe it's time I accepted that there is a process Kenya has to go through to get to where it needs to be – training, if you will. You cannot say that we are the same nation that we were 10 or even five years ago. We've grown. We've changed. We're trying to get off our drugs.

Congratulations to all our stellar athletes. I believe we can win still more gold medals, and I believe that the Kenyans on that track are a good representation of true Kenyan spirit, not the majority of the ones walking in our parliamentary halls. We are truly world class material.