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Coaches, managers give females sleepless nights

WOMEN IN SPORTS By Ochieng Oyugi | December 16th 2021 | 2 min read
President AK Rtd Major Jackson Tuwei during a media briefing on athletics at Riadha house on December 15, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Athletics Kenya (AK) has established that most young female athletes are forced into sexual relations with their coaches and managers.

This follows a one-month report compiled by the federation from the athletes consultative forum, that traversed 15 regions in Kenya.

“The issue is mostly rampant in training zones in Ngong, Kisii and Iten,” AK’s Director of Youth, Barnaba Korir, told Standard Sports.

Korir, who doubles up as the National Olympic Committee-Kenya Executive Member, said the lamentations came out clearly when it was narrated by the affected athletes.

“It’s such a sensitive issue. We didn’t expect this to be such a widespread vice. Some complains were so heart rendering, they require further investigations to be verified,” he said.

AK President Jackson Tuwei corroborated the issue during a press conference held in Nairobi yesterday.

“One of the recurrent matters athletes lamented about was the continuous exploitation of young female runners by unscrupulous coaches and managers. The situation has not been helped by the fact that most of these juniors hail from poor backgrounds and are desperately in need of a helping hand, which provides these wolves in sheep clothing with an opening,” he said. “Subsequently, many athletes’ young careers have been nipped in the bud through unwanted pregnancies and early marriages.”

Tuwei said the report has given them a hint of how many athletes and their families are being duped by middlemen in the guise of organising races abroad only to disappear with their winnings.

“We now remain hawk-eyed to persons masquerading as coaches who prey on young talents. We look forward to more collaboration with athletics stakeholders as we right the wrongs of the sector while perfecting our strong suits,” he said.

Other complains by the athletes revolved around administrative matters which Tuwei assured the federation is in the process of addressing.

“The athletes told us they have challenges accessing release letters from AK whenever they are heading abroad for competitions. We are in the process of streamlining the same to ensure all athletes have fair and timely access to these letters.” Tuwei said the report, which will be released in bits, is a masterstroke and an eye-opener to AK.

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