Avoid shylocks, athletes urged as month-long consultative forum ends
Nationwide Athletics Kenya (AK) forum that commenced earlier this month in Ngong, Kajiado County, concluded in Kapsabet, Nandi County yesterday with calling for more similar meetings.
The consultative meetings now paves way for a one-week retreat where all the issues raised from the 15 zones across the country will be compiled while also formulating solutions to the emerging issues affecting the welfare of athletes.
At the Kapsabet showground yesterday, a plethora of topics were discussed including the influx shylocks who have continued to exploit the athletes.
Marathoner Jane Seurey elaborated how desperate situations have forced athletes to borrow heavily from shylocks for survival purposes. Citing the Covid-19 pandemic that left most athletes experiencing finances challenges, Seurey , wants that to act as a learning curve.
“It was extremely difficult to survive during the height of the pandemic. We have alot of needs which needs resources, so without a source of income, it is easy to fall prey to the shylocks,” she said.
Mentioning professionals like teachers who have welfare and savings saccos, she challenged the athletes to follow suit.
“It is a pity to see shylocks taking personal properties from athletes because the athletes are not able to repay loans. If we had a sacco, it could have been easier to borrow from them and be able to return later when things get better.
Head of the program Barnaba Korir was in agreement the problem is pertinent that has continued to affect a number of athletes.
“We have heard of several cases of our athletes falling victim to this vice. Our appeal to the athletes is to desist completely from taking this sad path, which has financially crippled big number of local athletes,” he said.
Korir also challenged the athletes olti have a better savings culture to help cushion them from any drastic turn of events brought about by natural disasters and economic downturns as witnessed in recent years.
“Just because you will have an opportunity to run tomorrow does not make you squander what you have earned today. I urge you all to think about tomorrow.”
Marathoner Benjamin Bitok is one of the athletes wanted to know why the county government has not invested in more local races to help the athletes make a living.
“Counties like Uasin Gishu have their own races and and big marathons and where athletes are being paid well, I don’t understand why our county can’t emulate or even go a step further,” charged Bitok.
During the session, athletes were also cautioned against fake managers out to swindle their hard-earned cash once they make it big or even fail to pay them in totality after races.
“We have plenty of fake managers in Kenya and conmen are flooding the sport on the pretext of helping athletes to compete abroad, but in the long run, they vanish with their earnings once the prize money is paid. AK cannot. Do this on their own, the athletes must seek advise before getting into such suspicious contracts ,” said AK Central Rift secretary Kennedy Tanui.