Leah Malot eyes long run in politics after 27 years in athletics
ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | March 6th 2021
After competing for 27 years, former All Africa Games champion Leah Malot is racing into politics.
Nearly four years ago, Malot who started her professional career in athletics with a historic 10,000m win at the 1987 All Africa Games when she was only 15 years old, plunged into politics as a nominated Member of County Assembly.
She won the All Africa race barefoot, she recalls.
And today, Malot is laying the foundation for an elective political seat next year as she seeks to record another longevity in leadership.
In politics, Malot who retired from athletics in 2014 says she will use her political career to nurture athletics talent while pushing for completion of stalled sports projects.
She says she has set her sights on the Kaptagat ward rep position where she hopes to continue promotion of athletics talent.
During her prime, Malot competed with Mary Rono, the wife of Peter Rono, the 1998 Olympic 1500m gold medallist.
Malot joins former athletes including former Boston marathon winner Wesley Korir who became Cherangany MP in Trans Nzoia County between the year 2013 to 2017 and also seeking to recapture the seat next year and a host of ward reps who starred in athletics before leaping into the political arena.
Former 3,000m steeplechase world champion Wilson Boit Kipketer won Kapyemit ward rep seat (Elgeyo Marakwet County) in 2013 while 2005 winner of Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon Christopher Cheboiboch clinched the Emsoo ward seat in the same County.
She won the 1998 Dam tot Damloop race in the Netherlands and 2003 Philadelphia Distance Run. She finished second at the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2003 and 2004.
The 48-year-old retired athlete started her international career in the sport by winning gold at the 2000 ISTAF meeting of World Athletics Golden League meeting in Berlin timing 14:39.83, which was an African record.
“I started running in Chepkero Primary school before heading to Kapkenda Girls, where my athletics career was best nurtured,” she says.
Malot, who is currently a member of the sports committee at the Uasin Gishu County Assembly says the secret in longevity in athletics is healthy eating.
“I can attribute my success in athletics to hard training and eating natural food. I ate sukuma wiki (kales), ugali and milk during my career. We would train as a team,” she says.
She continued: “I remind budding athletes that there are no shortcuts in the game. They have to train hard the way we did in our days. They need to think of a healthy lifestyle and shun banned substances. There is a need for them to run clean.”
On her plunging into politics after retirement, Malot says the shift has given her the platform to push for implementation of sports projects while identifying in the grassroots.
“Political leadership has helped me to know the nature of sports facilities that we have for our athletes,” she says.
She says retired athletes are in a better position to push for implementation of key policies that require political will.
Malot says she has been among political leaders calling for completion of Eldoret’s Kipchoge Stadium ahead of the national Olympic trials in May.
“I am pleading with the ministry to speed up the completion of the stadium in time for the national trials,” said Malot who retired in 2013 before venturing into agro-chemical business and estate management.
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