By Eric Ochieng’

Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman Isaiah Kiplagat has pleaded with the taxman to spare athletes from taxes.

Kiplagat said two top athletes who have done Kenya proud internationally were being harassed by the Kenya Revenue Authority officials to pay taxes from the proceeds of their races abroad.

“The tax man wants Sh12.8million from one athlete and the other Sh50 million. How can you tax athletes who bring glory to this country? Why harass them to pay taxes yet they improve our foreign exchange by bringing and investing their prize money here?”

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The AK boss requested the Government to intervene, saying that the athletes have been taxed internationally from where they win their races.

The AK boss was speaking during the launch of the sixth edition of Kass International Marathon in Nairobi on Monday, which the Standard Group as one of the sponsors. Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba graced the launch.

Apart from Rwandan and Ethiopian athletes who participated last year, this year’s edition has attracted athletes from USA and Morocco, with a number of participants expected to increase above the 2,500 who participated in the 42km category last year.

Namwamba said he will participate in this year’s edition on November 18, along Kapsabet-Eldoret road.

“I urge Kenyans to participate in the race, which is a great national unifying factor,” said Namwamba.

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The race will start at Namgoi junction in Kapsabet and will end at the Eldoret Municipal Hall grounds.

Even though no winner has successfully defended the title since the inception of the race in 2007, last year’s champions Paul Koech and Rita Jeptoo Busienei are confident they will retain the titles.

The winners in the full marathon will bag Sh1.5million each. Other categories are 12km and 5km races.

Already sponsors are trickling in with Safaricom giving out Sh1.5 million, Amaco Insurance Sh1 million, and Kass Media Sh2million.

The race title sponsors are TransNational Bank. Other sponsors are the National Cereals and Produce Board, Brookside, Kenya Women, National Youth Enterprise Funds, Kenya Seed, Geothermal Development, and Jamii Telkom.

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