The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage Thursday flagged off food donations to needy athletes in Eldoret as a way of cushioning them against the loss of income brought about by coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking during the flagging off, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed revealed they had partnered with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge to identify deserving athletes.
"Through Eliud Kipchoge, we have identified 58 athletes who are very needy and deserve to get these food packages. The effects of the pandemic mean they cannot compete and they do not have any source of income," Amina said during the flagging off at the refurbished Nyayo National Stadium.
"Some of the athletes were supposed to participate in the World Athletics Under-20 Championship in Nairobi in July and other local races which have all since been cancelled. We empathise with them and this is just to keep them going," she added.
Amina also called on corporate organisations to partner with the ministry to reach more deserving athletes.
"We have several organizations that have already donated to us like Betika just to mention and we have also some money from the Sports Fund for this initiative but we need to reach more athletes and sportsmen. We call upon more organisations to come on board and help sportspeople during these difficult times," said Amina.
"We have identified over 1,000 athletes who are really needy and we intend to reach out to them in subsequent activities we intend to roll out," she added.
Amina also revealed the ministry is planning to boost athletes with cash stipends in the coming days.
"Other than athletes, we also have rugby players, footballers in the Kenyan Premier League and the Kenya Women's Premier League and many other sportsmen and women. We haven't forgotten them and we will soon be rolling out cash stipends to them," Amina said. "Our plan is to give them Sh10,000 each but we are still on the planning phase of how we will roll it out successfully."
The food packages donated to the athletes in Eldoret have maize and wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, pasta amongst other foodstuffs.