Nairobi, June 18 (IANS) Former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya has called upon his country’s authorities to recognise the nation’s sporting heroes in a way that befits their conquests.
Tergat on Saturday said that as a sporting powerhouse, Kenya has done great disservice by failing to take much pride in recognising her sporting heroes and heroines, reports Xinhua news agency.
“What we see, regrettably, is tokenism in the name of appreciating the contribution of the players of the global multi-billion dollar industry of sports,” Tergat told Xinhua news agency.
“I am persuaded then that the time has come for a complete shift from the way we do business around our sports if we are serious about matching our global peers,” Tergat remarked.
The former five-time world cross-country champion said it was a tragic and depressing way to treat the nation’s sports in general and her sportsmen and women in particular.
Tergat, who also sits on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Board, said Kenya was endowed with such colourful multi-achievers and it is amazing that they have not been celebrated with befitting honours such as erecting a monuments or laying down a Walk-of-Fame after them across the country.
“It is unacceptable that sometimes we carry ourselves as a nation short of talented sportspeople and managers despite the abundance of them among us,” he noted.
He said there is need for policy makers to develop some attractive incentives, including through legislation to make sporting adventures rewarding.
Tergat said his dream for the country is to see the creation of a fully fledged, stand-alone Ministry of Sports as a separate docket in the near future instead of having it as a department.
“I do not think that this is asking too much from our fellow countrymen and women. I am hopeful that our plea will be heard and granted by those charged with this responsibility,” he remarked.
Presently, Kenya only gives cash rewards to those sportsmen and women who win medals for the country in major international events like the Olympics and other global championships.