AK rolls out stimulus package to cushion upcoming athletes
- The beneficiaries are athletes who were in various AK camps preparing for this year's World Under-20 Championships.
- The athletes included Nickson Lesiya (1,500m) and Meshack Baraka (400m hurdles), who represented Kenya at the 2019 Africa Junior Championships in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Gilbert Kiprotich Chief Athletics Writer
Athletics Kenya (AK) has started rolling out a stimulus package to support junior athletes in the wake of the Covid-19 hardship.
The beneficiaries are athletes who were in various AK camps preparing for this year’s World Under-20 Championships.
The global event was earmarked for July 7-12 in Nairobi but has since been postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Athletes from Southern region- Machakos, Makueni and Kitui counties were the first batch to receive the package on Sunday which included some foodstuffs worth Sh3,000 and a similar amount of cash to each recipient.
AK Youth and Development Sub Committee chairman Barnaba Korir who led the delegation in the exercise said the funds that could have been used to sustain the athletes during the April camps programme have been channelled to support the athletes.
“Since it was not possible to host the athletes during the April holiday camps, the federation through the president decided to support each athlete with some food stuffs and a small token of cash to keep them going during this difficult time,” said Korir.
Some 35 athletes from Iuani Camp in Makueni County received the package on Sunday at the Iuani location Chief’s office before the delegation handed over the support to athletes from Machakos at the Machakos Showground.
The athletes included Nickson Lesiya (1,500m) and Meshack Baraka (400m hurdles), who represented Kenya at the 2019 Africa Junior Championships in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
“We thank AK for their visit today, it is a big boost for us since we have received foodstuffs like sugar, maize floor, cooking oil and tea leaves, and we really thanks them,” said Baraka.
Lesiya echoed Baraka’s sentiments, even as he remains worried about his chances of competing in the event once rescheduled, having already turned 19.
“It has been a very difficult time for us since we can’t train together as a group. I am even more confused because at the moment I don’t know if I will still compete in the Championships because of my age,” said Lesiya, who hails from Kajiado county.
AK Southern region chairman Paul Mutwii said a total of 131 athletes from the region are set to benefit from the programme with 51 drawn from Makueni, while 80 who were training in Machakos hails from Machakos and Kitui.
“The junior athletes are the most vulnerable lot and this support will help them navigate this period,” said Mutwii.
Korir hailed the Ministry of Sports for financing the programme which is expected to last athletes for at least three months.
“Our target is to reach the 1400 athletes who were selected and we thank our CS (Amina Mohammed) for her effort in this programme and if we get more, we will also share it equally to the athletes,” said Korir.
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