Let’s build on enduring legacy of our athletes

By , People Daily Digital
Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
A general view of the National Stadium during an athletics test event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo. Photo/AFP

Our gallant sportsmen and women have done the country proud again at the just concluded Tokyo Olympic Games, asserting Kenya’s status on the global stage.

The whole nation was united behind Team Kenya as the athletes put up a sterling performance that placed us on the high table of the world’s greatest sporting nations.

To emerge 20th on the medals table and 3rd in athletics in the world’s premier sports event of 200 nations in a competitive spirit of peace and solidarity; is an incredible feat indeed.

Remarkably, Kenya was the top nation in Africa, leading the continent’s giants such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa,  in the games postponed last year and held under a cloud of the coronavirus pandemic uncertainty.

Fans could only watch the breathtaking action from television sets, but it was worth it, as the games provided Kenyans with a welcome distraction from the hapless politics that is the bane of our nation and a threat to national unity.

The resilience and patriotism displayed by our sports heroes during these difficult times should serve as a critical lesson for the political class. Our athletes have united the nation in a way that none of our ethnocentric political parties can or ever will.

It is a wake up call, that we should shun the arrogance and wise-crack cliches propagated by politicians that continue to dominate our society, especially now that we are entering the election year.

Now is the time to get down to the basics of our national aspirations and reflect on the three issues that the founding fathers of our nation grappled with at independence and which continue to haunt us to date - disease, poverty and ignorance.

The future of our country belongs to the children and the youth such as the athletes who have placed our country in the global premier league of nations. We must not let them down.

As we build back better and step up the war against the coronavirus, let us concentrate on the things that matter. 

Our sports men and women are the most distinguished ambassadors of Brand Kenya.

The only reward we can offer them, is for the government to heavily invest in sports as a source of employment for millions of youth.

The investments should trickle down to schools, which are cracking under the weight of ballooning admissions and poor or overloaded infrastructure.

Every county should have an international stadium and the big cities should have at least two world-class sporting facilities.

Every school in the country must be supported to have decent playing fields.

We must think big to grow and safeguard the future and posterity of our children. 

That is why we need a ‘Marshal Plan’ of sorts to rebuild our country based on our strongest foundations such as sports, agriculture, a beautiful environment, a rich wildlife heritage and an excellent tourism and hospitality culture. 

These are the areas that we should be concentrating on, not meaningless political rhetoric and myopic grandstanding pervading our society. 

We have a good Constitution and the government has national development plans, including the ambitious Vision 2030 blueprint and the Big 4 agenda, while the counties have integrated development plans.

If only these well thought out programmes could be implemented to the letter in line with the aforementioned national attributes, Kenya would quickly emerge from morass of empty politics, poverty and underdevelopment to a middle level developing country. [email protected] 

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