A world standard state-of-art tae kwon do gym, known as ‘the dojo’ in Korean, has been launched in Kerio Valley.
Speaking during the official opening of the Kenya Fluorspar Taekwondo Centre on Tuesday that was led by the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr David Collins, various personalities applauded the facility’s sponsors Kenya Fluorspar Company and Field-Marsham Foundation for bringing the martial arts game to Keiyo Marakwet County, a place hitherto known for its world beating athletes.
“Tae kwon do is generally known for nurturing the culture of respect, humility, discipline and self confidence all of which are important virtues for young people in this country,” explained Lorna Kiplagat, the Kenyan-turned-Dutch international runner, who was among the invited guests during the launch.
“If these virtues are inculcated into children at an early stage they will definitely become peace-loving citizens in the future.”
Best gift to youth
Explaining that the facility is one of the best gifts to the youth of Kerio Valley, Lorna said that she would start her taekwondo classes in 12 months.
“It also helps develop physical and mental strength, hence it’s a base for everything which makes it important to any sportsman, whether a runner or a footballer,” Lorna observed.
Lorna also took the opportunity to explain her Dutch connections and her decision to represent the Netherlands in marathon races.
“I became Dutch by marriage hence I have no regrets whatsoever,” she insisted. “I don’t feel sorry for not running for Kenya but that does not mean that I don’t love the country. One can take a girl out of Africa but one can never take Africa out of the girl,” she added.
Lorna explained that her love for Kenya is evident from the fact that she spends much of her time in the country and has invested in several community projects. She founded the world-famous High Altitude Training Centre (HATC) in Iten in 1999.
“If I let a runner representing Kenya win gold at the Olympics yet I have the energy to overtake them, I will feel like I have committed an act of corruption,” Lorna observes.
Korean-Canadian tae kwon do Master Champion Victor Luke who was in the country to oversee the setting up of the facility said this was an opportunity for Kenyans to scale great heights in this Asian sport.
“I believe this facility has laid a foundation for the grooming of future Olympic competitors and winners from Kenya,” Master Luke explained. “It warms my heart greatly to have been part of the team that have brought the beautiful sport to Kerio Valley”.
The 42-year-old Master who won various international titles during his playing days is a top instructor in Canada where he trains both professionals and school children.
He will be going back to his homeland in a few days after which a South Korean master will be the resident trainer at Tae kwon do Center.