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Lake Baringo champion Lekae defends title



Five-time champion Francis Lekae once again defended his title after winning this year’s boat race at Lake Baringo yesterday.

The 48-year-old Ilchamus fisherman from Kokwo Island admitted that the breathtaking race, which is locally known as ‘Kaldich’ was tough but gave it his best shot.

“ I believe mine is a God-given talent as the course takes real determination and endurance to win. At some point, I would feel the taste of blood in my mouth but I had to take a chewing gum to sustain my saliva from drying up,” Lekae noted. Following his victory, he pocketed a mere Sh5,000, which he termed as too little to purchase anything for Christmas. The annual event was held as part of preparation for the famous Kimalel Goat Auction in Baringo South on today.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto are among the guests expected to attend. The race brought together the warring Pokot, Ilchamus and Tugen pastoral communities from Baringo North, Tiaty and Baringo South. Lekae said the unique racing event, where they use locally improvised boats made of wooden rafters, just like any other sporting activity requiring sufficient training.

“Despite being veteran fisherman, who has served for over 30 years, I cover over 15km daily to Kampi ya Samaki from Kokwo Island to sell my fish,” he said.

The old man demands less from the government that he may only have his National Hospital Insurance Fund cover paid for in order to meet health services for his wife and seven children.

“Last year Governor Stanley Kiptis promised to pay NHIF for winners and runners up but he is yet to fulfill his promise,” Lekae said. The second position went to Joseph Chepng’eny and Lekaranga German came third. In the women category, a pokot fisher lady Chepocheser Luka, 30 from Komolion in Tiaty Sub-county won the race.

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