Exploitation of young female athletes recurrent issue as AK start to compile reports

Thursday, December 16th, 2021 08:00 | By
AK president Jack Tuwei talks to journalists yesterday. PHOTO/PD/ AMOS ABUGA

Athletic Kenya (AK) has requested for a maximum of two months to compile huge volume of raw data collected from stakeholders during a series of consultative meetings that ended earlier this month after visiting most parts of the country.

The federation held month-long meetings with local athletes in various zones to have a clearer understanding of the issues affecting them.
The meetings, dubbed “AK National Consultative Meetings” enabled officials to get feedback to inform remedial action.

While giving a breakdown of the received reports from the four clusters that encircled 15 regions across the country, AK boss Jack Tuwei said the reports from the no-holds-barred sessions will be treated with the sensitivity they require.

According to the data, a total of 2921 participants took part in the forums, of which 1916 were male,736 female and 269 were coaches and other support personnel.

“Here we also have some sensitive data gathered from 2254 questionnaires and some 332 suggestion forms that will guide us in addressing pertinent issues affecting our athletes,” he added.

Tuwei said whereas many of the issues highlighted were expected, some of them were quite earth-shattering and a reality-jolt on the need to work round the clock to address these concerns.

According to Tuwei, one of the recurrent matters saw a big number of athletes lamenting about was the continuous exploitation of young female athletes by unscrupulous coaches and managers.

“We understand the situation has not been helped by the fact that most of these juniors hail from poor backgrounds and are desperately in need of a helping hand, which provides these wolves in sheep clothing with an opening.

I don’t want to be  preemptive, but I want to assure our athletes that stern measures will be undertaken,” said Tuwei while addressing press at Riadha house yesterday.

Of concern to the federation is that athletes’ young careers have been nipped in the bud through unwanted pregnancies and early marriages.
“ Furthermore, it was apparent that many athletes and their families have been duped by middlemen in the guise of organizing races abroad for them only to disappear with their winnings.

Moreover, we always remain hawk-eyed to persons masquerading as coaches to prey on young talents. We look forward to more collaboration with athletics stakeholders as we right the wrongs of the sector while perfecting our strong suits,” he assured.

Tuwei admitted some of the matters arising are administrative in nature and as such, the federation is in the process of addressing them.

“ For instance, athletes complained about the challenges in accessing release letters from AK whenever they are heading abroad for competitions.

We are in the process of streamlining the same to ensure all athletes have fair and timely access to these letters,” he assured.

“Nothing is cast on stone remember, while we intend to have such foras in future, nobody really knows what next year holds or what the emerging issues will be. Back in 2014, the biggest issue when we started the seminars was doping, you can see the discussions keep evolving,” he added.

Tuwei saying the federation, with the help of two external experts are in the process of compiling the final report with these and more issues.
Afterward, the report will be validated by all stakeholders to ensure all the core matters expressed during the month-long meetings are efficiently captured.

While the forums were a departure from the past, AK visiting various zones to directly obtain views from almost all athletes rather than holding seminars and workshops at a central place, is something Tuwei wants to see continuing in the next years.

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