NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – Absa Bank has partnered with five top Kenyan athletes to help raise funds to promote education at the grassroot in a new program dubbed ‘The Torch of Possibilities run’ set to begin next month.
World record holders Eliud Kipchoge (Marathon), David Rudisha (800m) as well as former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei, steeplechaser Paul Kipsiele Koech and legendary marathon runner Catherine Ndereba will be the Run’s ambassadors.
The five will not only act as ambassadors for the fun races but will also play a key role in helping shape the lives of younger athletes and aspiring sportsmen through mentorship, literally passing the torch to the next generation of superstars.
“The five athletes we are working with are very passionate about this call. We did not just pick anyone but pick athletes who resonate with what the race is all about. We hope that they can help mobilise the resources and also mobilize Kenyans to come out and run for a worthy cause,” Absa Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori told Capital Sport.
The races will be classified between 2km, 5km and 10km and will not be professional races according to Awori. The first round is expected in Eldoret on March 21 and will most probably be headlined by Kipchoge who is preparing for the London Marathon and Tokyo Olympics.
Each of the five will headline different races in different cities where a participation fee of Sh1,000 has been set.
“It is during those school competitions that my desire was stirred to want more. I started representing my school and the moment I did that in the provincials, it was my moment of truth. I finished sixth in the competition, but by doing so I was able to interact with the national team and when I went back home, I got the idea of pursuing more races and getting a career,” Nderaba said as she explained her desire to be part of the program.
Rudisha on his side stated; “This initiative is very important especially for the development they want to do with schools. We are happy because this will inspire the young generation. We have challenges in grassroots education but this will inspire a lot of young people.”
According to Awori, Absa has already committed Sh45mn to the course, Sh20mn going towards organizing the races while the remaining Sh25mn will go towards purchase of computers and other electronic equipment for schools.
“We have targeted 40 schools across the country and we are working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that this money goes to its intended use. We are focused on building Ablution blocks to help in improving healthcare as well as equipping the schools with computers to help them with skills and expertise because that’s where the modern world is headed,” stated Awori.
Also present during the launch was Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed who reiterated the ministry’s support towards the project to help nurture young athletes from a young age.