Revival of sports brings Nyamira back to life

Charles Asati displays his medals. He helped Kenya win the 1968 Olympic 4x400m Gold medal. Asati hails from Nyamira County, together with Ezekiel Nyamao, Robert Ouko, Hellen Obiri, Tom Nyariki, Margaret Nyokayo and Naftali Temu. [Stanley Ongwae, Standard]

A feeling of revival is sweeping across Nyamira County.

For several years, the Gusii region has been missing from the list of counties that produce international champions. That is bound to change with the revival of sports activities.

For close to 20 years, the number of sportsmen and women from the region winning medals in international and local sporting activities has been on a tremendous decline, leaving stakeholders with unanswered questions.

According to Nyanza South Athletics Kenya Chairman Peter Angwenyi, Gusii is a region that should be producing top talents in athletics and other sporting activities.

“It is a matter of asking ourselves why some years back, Gusii was very vibrant in producing top athletes when the region ought to be at the crest like Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet?” Angwenyi asked.

According to Angwenyi, counties are yet to take advantage of that move to develop talent.

Such concerns have led to stakeholders from Nyamira to embark on policy guidelines that will see the revival of sports in the county.

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo recently said that the county is refining various legislative frameworks that will necessitate growth of sports in the region.

“Our region has proved to be a great place for sports talents. We are now in the process of making sure we get our county back to where it used to be in terms of success in sports,” Nyaribo said.

Helen Obiri after winning silver at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. [Reuters]

In its wake-up call to re-energise sporting activities, Nyamira County Government is aiming at constructing a second stadium as it embarks on raising the stakes in athletics activities.

Manga Stadium, the first sporting facility, whose construction began about seven years ago, is in its completion stages. Proposals have been made to construct Esanige Green Stadium, in Magwagwa.

One month ago, the Ministry of Sports, which is undertaking the Esanige Stadium project, led potential bidders of the works for a pre-tender site visit, according to Nyamira Gender and Sports Executive Grace Nyamongo.

Nyamongo said the county has began a talent search academy at Kiendege, where budding sports talents will be nurtured.

“We look forward to tapping potentials from our young people in all sports through the academy. With the construction of the two stadiums, we are sure of attracting more talents,” said Nyamongo.

Through Athletics Kenya, Nyamira has conducted eight athletics events, all aimed at raising the standards of sports locally. The races were conducted in Borabu, Magwagwa, Ikonge, Nyakongo and Sironga, where the Nyamira Great Run races were conducted.

AK also organised a race at the unfinished Manga Stadium in memory of the late Robert Ouko, who was in the quartet that won the Munich Olympic medal in 1968.

Ouko died in 2019 aged 80. Nyamira County is also home to three other 1968 Munich Olympics 4x400m relay gold medal winners Ezekiah Nyamao and Charles Asati and Olympic Silver medallist Hellen Obiri.