World Marathon Champion Catherine Ndereba could not hold back her tears as she delivered an emotional appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government.
While speaking at the Agnes Tirop Conference on Monday, January 17, Ndereba stated that the increasing cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) among the athletes were a concern further asking the Head of State to intervene.
Ndereba called for more women to be appointed to positions of decision-making as they were better placed to inform government policies regarding GBV.
Athlete Agnes Tirop while in Germany in September 2021.
She also appealed to the government to ensure that those who are responsible for the violence are brought to book.
“It is a call to our head of state and his team and all of us, in general, to come up with a way of taking care of our sportsmen and women,” she appealed.
” It is my prayer that my beloved country will get to the place whereby we will be able to put all those responsible to account,” she appealed.
The 2007 World Championships gold medalist was forced to pause her speech for a while as she was comforted by Chief Administrative Secretary for Gender, Dr Linah Kilimo, who was seated next to her.
Kilimo was heard encouraging Ndereba to be courageous for the athletes who have gone through incidents of GBV.
Additionally, Ndereba explained that both sportsmen and women needed protection – giving examples of athletes who had lost their lives through GBV and those who were facing mental health challenges.
“When we are talking about the sports people we are talking about the men. We have seen somebody like Hosea Macharinyang that we lost because of some problems. He went through so much,
“There is that big need to have somewhere that we can to present our issues and have someone who can listen to them and do something,” she stated.
The Agnes Tirop Conference was organised by the Ministry of Sports in honour of Tirop who was allegedly murdered by her husband. The ministry stated that the conference would enable stakeholders to find solutions to rising cases of GBV facing athletes.
Prior to the conference, World record-breaking marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge criticised the government for failing to protect athletes against rogue coaches who he claimed were ruining the lives of athletes.
He stated that many sportsmen had resorted to alcohol because of the challenges they were facing.
“80 per cent of athletes turn to alcohol when depressed. Otherwise, we will be having a lot of memorial races. Bad characters, people who do not have values are inside our sport.
“They pretend to be coaches. They pretend to be advisers and consultants. They pretend to be everything by they have an ill motive,” he stated.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to Athlete Eliud Kipchoge in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.
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