NAIROBI, Kenya, October 18 – International Olympics Committee (IOC) member Paul Tergat has weighed in on the plight of former world middleweight female champion, Conjestina Achieng, by urging the Government to give such local stars responsibilities to develop their sport in a bid to stem their rapid decline.
Achieng, who fought under the title ‘Hand of Stone’ is currently hospitalised at a Kisumu hospital after her condition took a turn for the worse in her long struggle with mental illness having been largely abandoned by authorities of a nation she represented with pride on the boxing ring in the early 2000s.
Speaking at a luncheon on Friday in his honour following his election to the global Olympics body organised by the National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) where he serves as the Athletes’ Representative for men, Tergat, the former world marathon record holder decried the pathetic state majority of local sporting icons fall into after their retirement.
“It is very sad to see various success stories of sports personalities that we have had as a country such as our female boxer Conjestina Achieng in the sad state she is currently now, it is very painful,
“If we had we developed a structured programme to handle them we would have arrested the situation before it goes out of control.
“It’s the responsibility of the Government and federations to see this young sports men and women leave a great life after retiring” said Tergat
Ironically, Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hussein Wario, who was expected as a chief guest, failed to show as Tergat made the impassionate plea to the State.
Nock Chairman and honorary IOC Council Member, Dr Kipchoge Keino said he is ready to work with the five time World Cross Country champion to see the youth programmes are achieved towards 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“As we honour Targat for what he has done to the country, he also has the responsibility to make sure the standard of sports improves not only in Kenya but also in Africa and the World” the NOCK boss stated.
Tergat was elected IOC member a month ago in Argentina to become only the second Kenyan after Keino to sit in the prestigious decision making organ.