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Points to ponder in government Covid-19 stimulus programme

Thursday May 21 2020

Newly constructed seats at Nyayo National Stadium on May 19, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO |

Newly constructed seats at Nyayo National Stadium on May 19, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

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I really appreciate the current efforts by the government, through the Ministry of Sports, to cushion our athletes especially the upcoming talents in the age-group categories during this moment when the whole world is trying to contain the coronavirus.

Of course, we never anticipated we will reach here, and I believe what is being done is the best we can at the moment, just to try and mitigate the situation.

However, I believe planning is key and if we are to serve all athletes equally, we need to sit on a round table and plan.

While I know the current Covid-19 situation is affecting everyone, I would like to focus on athletics for now.

First things first, I would like to thank Olympic champion and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed for a job well done.



However, athletes suffering from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are not just based in the Rift Valley as we may want to assume.

I believe it would have helped a lot if we had used the World Under-20 Championships youth camps as a guide.

We all know we have camps in various regions including Rift Valley, Nyanza, Central, Eastern and Western among other places. I guess this is the most hit lot and in need of the government rations.

Random assistance to athletes who served the nation on the international stage will not achieve much if we are really to focus on the needy.

In fact, I dare say that most athletes who have represented this country can afford to donate to their counterparts who have nothing just as it is being witnessed by top footballers around the world.

It will be a mockery to give, especially the elite athletes, two bags of flour, cooking oil, salt and etc.

However, the same would go a long way in helping athletes who are in the age group, who would even appreciate it more.

We, therefore, need to look at case by case, instead of treating the athletes equally.

To avoid such things in the future, we must think as stakeholders on ways and means of developing a scheme not only for such scenarios but also for the retired athletes.

I must say without blinking that coronavirus or not, the retired lot of athletes are suffering and all they have is a name that occasionally pops out when we want to brag about our athletics history.

We should realise that Kenya is a powerhouse in athletes and some of the donations we give do not reflect our true status. I know of countries where needy athletes have been put on salary by their government until the situation improves. However, this is not really what I am suggesting but it should be food for thought.

Korir is the chairman of Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi branch. [email protected]