, WUNDANYI, Kenya, Oct 19 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Saturday morning flagged off the 2013 Madoka Half Marathon with a call to County Governments to participate fully in nurturing young talent in sports.
She said provision of improved sporting facilities to both boys and girls will accord youth an opportunity to develop their talent in various sporting activities.
The First Lady who spoke at Ngerenyi sports field in Taita Taveta County said organizing training camps and regular championships at the County level will tap and nurture local talent in sports.
She urged Kenyans, particularly talented youths, to take athletics and sports in general as a way of earning decent livelihoods.
“I understand that two local boys, Mwangombe and Mzame, are registering very good times in international events in France and South Africa. They should be encouraged,” she said.
The First Lady told youth to shun drug and alcohol abuse which will only ruin their lives.
“The Taita hills setting are on the same altitude as Nandi areas where many Kenyan top athletes’ have come from. It is therefore possible to produce international champions from this region to, she said.”
The First Lady described athletics as one of the common denominator that defined and promoted national unity.
The First Lady later distributed shoes donated by Ahadi Kenya Trust to various students as part of the country’s efforts to help fight the jiggers’ menace.
She noted with appreciation that improved hygiene in the local community has however controlled the prevalence of jiggers in the area.
The First Lady thanked Ahadi Trust for their initiative of fighting jiggers throughout Kenya.
“Likewise, may I take this opportunity to thank the main sponsors of Madoka Half Marathon event over the last seven years. These are Safaricom, Brookside, General Motors, Kenya Revenue Authority, Chase bank, Amaco Insurance, Bamburi, and Taita Estate among others.” She said.
Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said the Madoka Half Marathon provided a conducive environment for athletes to showcase their talent and conquer the world.
The road race founder Rtd Maj. Marsden Madoka said the spirit of athletics and sports has contributed to unity and harmonious co-existence among the various ethnic communities in the country.
The 8th edition of Madoka half marathon for men was won by Omari Onyambu while Soy Solomon and Macharia Samuel took second and third positions respectively.
For women, Chepkemoi Vicoty emerged the winner followed by Paskalia Chepkorir and Eunice Mumbua Kioko in second and third positions.
(Story by Kobia Mwirichia)