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Exclusion of Eliud Kipchoge from honours a shame

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By BARNABAS KORIR
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I can now relate to the adage that ‘prophets are never celebrated in their hometown.’

I can’t just come to terms with the recent move by the State to side line the World marathon record holder and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge from the recently dished out national honours.

I have heard people say that it was an oversight? Really? It’s time we got serious as a country and stop politicising everything. Just recently Kipchoge was voted the IAAF Athlete of the Year and before that, he had been voted the United Nations Sports Person of the Year (Kenya).

It’s hard to believe that his own country forgot about his achievements when the entire world was still talking about his new record of 2:01.39 that saw him lower the previous mark of 2:02.57 by a massive 78 seconds. Before that, Kipchoge had also won the London Marathon in April.

We have always talked about encouraging our sportsmen and women but is this really the way to go? First, we are unable to provide proper training facilities and even after our athletes go out of their way to train hard and fly the country’s flag we are not able to honour them. Just who bewitched this nation?

The panellists who were tasked with selecting sportsmen and women did not need to dig into the rubble to know that Kipchoge was the man of the year.

It was all over and even small children know that. So who are these people in the selection panel that didn’t find Kipchoge worth the honours and what were their reasons?

We have enough people in this country who can do that job without fear and favour including sports journalists. Was it so difficult to consult the Sports Journalists Association (SJAK) to have their contribution on this?

As a country we are headed the wrong way and it is time we went back to the drawing board and searched our souls.

I am sure even the Nandi Governor Stephen Sang who had honoured Kipchoge naming a stadium ‘Eliud Kipchoge Sports Complex’ must be wondering what happened after setting the pace.

I have no problem with the fact that other sportsmen and women were given the honours but I am bitter that the year’s top performers including world 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech were ignored.

World Half Marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, a corporal in the Kenya Defence Forces, was the only athlete to receive the award and she deserved it in her own right.
I hope Kipchoge will not relent in his effort to win more accolades but as a country, we must change.

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