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Let's celebrate Team Kenya

By Arianne Kiama | August 20th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenyan athletes are known globally for their prowess on the athletics tracks, so much so that athletes from the world over have taken to training in Kenya in a bid to draw some of the "magical winning formula" associated with our athletes.

Since the IAAF World Championships began in 1999, Kenya has always finished in the top two on the medals table except in one unfortunate edition. The brand of Kenyan athletes is a serious crowd puller to the games wherever the games are hosted.

This year, when the competition kicks off on 22nd August in Beijing, it will be no different. We expect huge numbers of athletics fans to congregate at the stadium to watch their favourite runners on the tracks, most of whom will be Kenyans. After all, our tradition of dominating the long distance races is well and truly established. It is therefore strange to note that whenever the trials are held locally, the stadiums are always empty. We are a people who do not truly appreciate the talent of our athletes.

You can forgive someone for assuming that we are so used to Kenyan athletes winning that it has stopped being a memorable fete.

For instance, those who were around in 1968 when Kipchoge Keino bagged the first gold medal for Kenya at the Olympics always recall that particular moment with immense pride. Who remembers the Paul Tergat versus Haile Gebrselassie rivalry that began in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics?

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Their performance at the 2000 Sydney Olympics remains one of the greatest finishes of all time. Kenyans only realised how significant the competition was when they saw sports headlines all over the world. At home, Mr Tergat was barely recognised, he was just one other runner.

It is disheartening to imagine that the people who fly our flags high in foreign lands giving the world a chance to appreciate the brand of our country and sample our National Anthem do not attract the attention they deserve back home. Over and over again.

It is incomprehensible that the biggest names in athletics can be featuring in our stadia with near empty seats. It is even more heartbreaking that when they eventually make us proud by breaking world records after intense training, many Kenyans are never even aware of it besides a few fans of the sport.

We rarely acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices they make to get there. It is high time we took ownership of all our national teams. Real patriotism means that we celebrate all Kenyans whenever they represent and position our Country in the global stage, whether in football, rugby or volleyball.

That is why Tusker launched the Team Kenya campaign. This is a movement aimed at enhancing patriotism amongst Kenyans by celebrating various groundbreaking moments as well as achievements made by Kenyans from all walks of life. Let us use our power as Kenyans on Twitter and other social media platforms to reach out to our athletes, let us send the messages of goodwill and motivation to the teams and their technical support crew.

You can join the cause by signing up to *896# and the Tusker brand through the Team Kenya platform will take on the responsibility of appraising you of all the groundbreaking achievements made by Kenyans in not only the global but also the local arena.

As Team Kenya we want to make sure that the moment of support and celebration starts now and never stops.

Team Kenya Kenyan athletes IAAF World Championships
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