Paul Tergat urges Kenya to celebrate her heroes during launch of The Karims biography
| May 24th 2017 | 3 min read
Athletics legend Paul Tergat has heaped praise on a biography chronicling the contribution of the Karim family even as he faulted a culture of tokenism when appreciating the country's sports heroes and heroines.
The biography, The Karims — A Sporting Dynasty, by former Kenya captain Aasif Karim was launched on Wednesday at a colourful ceremony in Nairobi and attended by sporting luminaries.
The book details the Karims' achievements in sports in Kenya, a tale Tergat said should wake up the country to celebrate its sports men and women.
"What we see is tokenism in the name of appreciating the contribution of the players of this global multi-billion dollar industry," Tergat, a five-time World Cross Country champions and former marathon World Record holder, said.
"Kenya is endowed with legends, yet they are not celebrated in such ways as erecting a monument in their honour or laying a Walk-of Fame for them in the city of Nairobi," he said.
Karim's father, Yusuf Karim was a tennis player and Aasif played tennis for Kenya before taking up cricket. He represented Kenya in three Cricket World Cup and was the captain in 1999, when Kenya appeared at the Cricket World Cup for the second time. His son, Irfan Karim, plays cricket for the national team as a batsman and a wicketkeeper.
Aasif was part of the Kenyan team that beat West Indies in 1996, the first time that Kenya appeared in the world cup. He was also in the team that beat Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 2003, when Kenya reached the semi-finals of Cricket World Cup which was hosted by South Africa but some matches were played in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Tergat, who is slated to be the president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, said: "I think as a sporting powerhouse nation like Kenya, we have done ourselves a great disservice by failing to take much pride in our diversity and rich heritage such as the Karim's sporting dynasty within us."
"Here is a family spanning three generations, excelling in two, highly-rated sports- cricket and tennis, yet this knowledge is largely known only to them and, perhaps, just a few close friends. I ask if that is not a tragic way to treat our sports in general and, our sportsmen and women in particular. This, according to me, is quite depressing."
The Karim — A Sporting Dynasty traces the story of Aasif's family and the remarkable contribution it made to sports in Kenya. Each generation of the family shouldered the responsibility of keeping their legacy alive.
Tergat, who was the guest of honour at the launch said that the book and the documentary gives Kenyans an amazing tale of a family's journey for almost a century and how it has come to have such a lasting imprint on the country's sporting heritage.
"This in itself is profound and I salute you. The Karims have definitely secured their lasting place in our history for generations to come," Tergat said.
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