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NERIMA: In our sportsmen, we find national pride; let’s match it with recognition

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By NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA
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There is something in the Kenyan air, well other than pollution. Our athletes have been raising a storm internationally over the last few months. Breaking world records and performing better than excellent if that is even possible.

I remember the day that Eliud Kipchoge ran, and took over the world that instance, he was the most watched individual in the world. I can’t even imagine how that felt during that particular moment.

At the end of his race he said something quite significant, he talked about inspiring others. He specifically mentioned Kenyans and showing them that you can do anything you set your mind to, it’s possible.

I have completely paraphrased, but that was how I took it. Then the following day there was Brigit Kosgei breaking a record, and it has been that way with marathons since. But there also have been horror stories in the sports industry.

About athletes being stranded, or in the past when government officials were taking photographs wearing uniforms and the athletes had none. From entire families owning merchandise that was well decorated with our wonderful flag.

Ah yes, patriotism. I have mentioned this before. The few times we see Kenyan’s really proud to be Kenyan, is during sporting events. When we support a winner of course and during a tragedy.

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When we honestly give the few coins that we have to support someone we feel is in more need. Such cases touch our heart strings and we often give generously after a tragedy.

When Zarika, the Kenyan female boxer said that she was happy she lost to Mexican boxer Mercado, many people were shocked.

Why would someone be happy that they lost? Especially in a competitive sport, it was not quite the symbolism of goods sportsmanship. But to me it was her expressing that she was fed up with the rampant corruption in our government systems, more specifically in the sports sector.

It is a sad thing to witness that, and in a sense she is an activist without realising it.

Sports has been one industry that continues to be mutilated. We are still waiting on the stadiums that this current government promised. Were they 9 stadia, or was it 11? Many were given a deadline to be completed this year by September.

I can see December is around the corner, and the only proof of existing stadium is a plaque.

It must be hard to make a country so proud and not get a single reward and minimum support to do so.

Our sportsmen and women sure do make us proud!

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa is executive director of Siasa Place. Twitter: @NerimaW



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