NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) in partnership with the Kenya National Sports Council (KNSC) have disbursed food relief to 150 veteran athletes who represented Kenya in various international events up to 2004.
NOCK gave a total of Sh500,000 as seed capital to the project and working with the KNSC have identified needy athletes and heroes of yester-years who will benefit from the program.
They will be handed food stimulus to help them remain comfortable especially at this time when most of their activities outside sports have been directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program was flagged off on Thursday by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.
“I want to apologize to the veteran athletes because we have forgotten about them in some way. We are trying to correct that and we have asked for a list to be prepared of our legends with their contacts. We want to approach them directly so that they have something to support them not only now but also later,” CS Amina said as she presided over the function at the Nyayo National Stadium.
She added; “I am happy with this program that we started two months ago and I am pleased because the Federations have taken it up and provided support for the needy athletes. We will continue doing this until the issue of COVID-19 is over.”
Sports Council official Charles Nyaberi stated that they have identified an initial list of 150 athletes from all over the country but are looking to expand the lost to 200 depending on the finances they get.
“We have targeted 150 but maybe the list will grow to 200. We are starting with food but we are looking to mobilize resources to offer more support maybe for rent tokens. We are looking at the next one month to see whether we can offer more support,” Nyaberi told Capital Sport.
Athletes from all over the country and from all disciplines have been considered and among the greats who were at Nyayo Stadium on Thursday to receive their share is veteran boxer Suleiman Bilali.
Meanwhile, NOCK and KNSC have partnered Roy Parcel Services (RPS) to transport the relief to athletes who are outside the capital with Nyaberi saying it has helped cater for almost 30 percent of the budget.
RPS Managing Director Tehseen Omar says the company made the decision to offer a free service for the program as part of its Community Social Responsibility activities.
“I have just come into the management and we are trying to build on the CSR of RPS. We feel that this is the best way to do that because we are helping to provide to the most needy first especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also looking to do more in the near future,” Ms Omar stated.
At the same time, the Ministry says it has reached out to over 2400 athletes through its cash stimulus program while even more have benefited from food packages distributed to them.
CS Amina says they are looking to expand the program to ensure they reach most of the needy athletes who have been left struggling after most sports events were cancelled.