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Special Olympics gold medallist Gatwiri struggling to make ends meet

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Susan Gatwiri won gold in 3000m and 5000m thus helping Kenya to bag more fortunes in the Olympics as the country scooped a total of 26 gold, 2 silver and 12 bronze medals in the 2015 Special Olympic Games. Photo/COURTESY

NYERI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Four years ago, Susan Gatwiri put her best foot forward to bag two gold medals in the Los Angeles, USA Special Olympics where Kenya registered it best ever performance, hauling 40 medals.

The young athlete won gold in 3000m and 5000m thus helping Kenya to bag more fortunes in the Olympics as the country scooped a total of 26 gold, 2 silver and 12 bronze medals.

Gatwiri had hoped the same would translate to self-fortunes by giving her a monetary award besides getting medals in order liberate her mother back at home who wallows in extreme poverty.

But contrary to her expectations, the athlete only came home with a Sports Personality of the Year Award (SOYA) after winning the 2015 Sports Woman Living with Disability gong, that was accompanied by Sh75, 000 that she gave to her mother to rent a house, pay some fees for her siblings and obtain ordinary chattel of a table and chairs.

Special Olympics gold medallist Susan Gatwiri (Right) with her employer Eunice Kariuki in Nyeri where she works as a house girl. Photo/COURTESY

Her case emerged after her story was shared on social media highlighting her struggles with life despite the fact that the Government had promised to award all gold medallist Sh200,000, meaning Gatwiri is entitled Sh400,000.

However, up to date, the Government has never fulfilled its promise, leaving Kenyans call on the Ministry of Sports to intervene.

Gatwiri’s aunt, Judith Kiende said that the youngster athlete had undergone all her primary education as a special learner.

“I enrolled her to school as an ordinary learner only for things to change later after teachers proved she could hardly read or write despite being fully trained to do so,” the aunt said.

Susan Gatwiri was named the 2015 SOYA Awards Sports Woman Living with Disability. Photo/COURTESY

In deed all her certificates of merit in school sports competition shows that she has until the day she sat for KCPE participated in the category of persons with intellectual disability.

The athlete scored 105 marks after sitting for her KCPE at Meere primary school, but she did not go to secondary school due to financial constraints.

The dejected Gatwiri who now earns Sh6000 per month works as house girl in the outskirts of Nyeri town, an amount she uses to cater for her needs and those of her jobless mother who resides in a rental shack in near Narumoru forest.

“I went through learning as a special learner both a school in Timau and in Mere Primary school,” Gatwiri said.

The athlete is now calling on the Government to intervene and pay all her dues to the glory and fame she brought in the country.

In a statement, the Special Olympics Kenya confirmed that they sent the bank details of Gatwiri to the Ministry of Sports as directed.

“Susan (Gatwiri) is among other Special Olympics Kenya athletes whose details were submitted for cash awards in the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage. The awarding of athletes is mandate of the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage and not Special Olympics Kenya,” read a statement from the Special Olympics Kenya.

“According to the Ministry’s cash award scheme, gold medallist receive Sh200,000 per medal, hence Susan’s cash award from the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage is Sh400,000,” the statement further read.

“The Ministry of Sports does not engage the sports organizations during the disbursement process hence Special Olympics Kenya cannot confirm whether an athlete has been paid or not unless the athlete volunteers the information.”

-By John Gathua-

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