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Former athletes prefer stadiums to MPs’ payout

Monday June 4 2012

Athletes compete in the steeplechase finals during the Kenya Primary Schools Sports Association athletics championships. Photo/FILE

Athletes compete in the steeplechase finals during the Kenya Primary Schools Sports Association athletics championships at Kigari Teachers' Training College in Embu. Photo/FILE 

By PHILIP ONYANGO [email protected]

Former international athletes have opposed the proposed Sh15 million retirement package for each Member of Parliament and instead want the money used to develop sports facilities in the country.

Reigning world 3,000 metres record holder Daniel Komen and former world 5,000m champion Benjamin Limo now want the Minister for Education, Mutula Kilonzo, and his Youth Affairs and Sports counterpart, Paul Otuoma, to strongly oppose the Bill in Parliament.

They called on the two ministers to propose that the money be used to build sports stadiums in all the 47 countries.

“This Sh15 million per MP is more than enough to build extra stadiums in all the counties with modern athletics tracks which in the long run will help produce the country’s future athletes,” Komen said.

The athletes, who officiated at the official opening of the Kenya Secondary Schools Term Two ‘A’ games in Eldoret, said there is a lot of potential among the country’s athletes which, if well tapped, could easily make Kenya a sports powerhouse.

Opportunity to develop athletics

The two challenged the Ministry of Education to give them an opportunity to develop athletics in the Coast and North Eastern regions.

“We are now free and, if given a chance, can station ourselves in these two provinces and produce great athletes,” they said.

They advised students and pupils to avoid using buses and matatus to school, saying walking to school daily made them world beaters.

“I used to run to school daily for about five kilometres in the morning, during lunch and in the evening, which was enough practice for me, and that is how I eventually became a world beater,” Komen told a group of about 1,000 athletes.

He also advised them to take the traditional Kalenjin mursik (sour milk) for strength.

Emerging talents

Limo praised the Education ministry, which he said through KSSSA are doing tremendous job bringing up and nurturing young talents in different sports in various schools.

“At the recent World Youth and World Junior championships, a majority of athletes – more than 99 per cent to be precise – comprised boys and girls from secondary schools while the rest were from primary schools and others clubs,” Limo observed.

“Through KSSSA’s good leadership, organisational skills, unity and good networking, we’ve realised several emerging talents.”