Tergat: I discovered my running talent quite late
National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) president Paul Tergat has challenged the youth to take up sports at an early age to be able to identify their talent and develop it to be world beaters by the time they become adults.
Tergat who is also the founder of the Sportsmen Of the Year Awards (Soya) was speaking at Kadaina Island in Matsangoni, Kilifi, where he paid a courtesy call to Marafiki Primary and Secondary Schools, before giving personal donations to Thoya-Oya Children's Home.
“My story is very different because i realised my talent when it was almost very late, and I was not able to represent the country at the junior levels. If I had known that I could run when I was still in high school, I believe I could have won a lot of accolades for the country in the global junior competitions,” Tergat said during the function.
He added: “During my primary school and secondary school days, I only loved playing volleyball and had never thought of trying athletics. Until after i finished high school and went for Kenya Air Force recruitment is when i realised that I could actually run and despite starting my career late, i still managed to be a world beater and won numerous accolades, so what if I had identified the talent earlier.”
Kilifi is renowned for producing good football players, swimmers, divers, judokas and karatekas and the five-time world cross country champion urged the youths in the area to take the disciplines seriously and maximise their potential.
Tergat also urged the youths to observe discipline, hard work and determination to be able to achieve their goals.
“When I was an athlete, I had the money to eat ice cream, chips and other junk foods, but my discipline helped me resist them for the good. I have also never smoked nor taken alcohol,” he said.
He added: “No human is limited and nothing is impossible. I went to school in Baringo where life was unbearable, but I eventually made it in life because I followed what my teachers and parents taught me. Now I hold many key positions both locally and globally and would like to be an inspiration to many upcoming youths.”
Margaret Saumu, a social worker in charge of the Thoya-Oya Children’s Home, lauded the gesture by Tergat and said it would go a long way in supporting the home, which currently has 61 children.