Africa 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa was forced to defer his education programme while at the University of Nairobi due to the number of training and races he had to attend in order for him to gain Olympic Games qualifying standards.
Balancing education and running career was the centre of discussion during the interactive session at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya and Tusker rewarding ceremony held in Eldoret on Wednesday night.
Omanyala, double Olympic Games marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, former world 3,000m steeplechase champion Milcah Chemos, former world javelin champion Julius Yego and former world 800m champion Janeth Japkosgei have urged fellow athletes to balance between education and their running career.
The Olympic 100m finalist said that it is not easy, balancing between sports and academics was tough.
He said he will be harmonizing with the school management to see how he will be attending lessons but currently the season is over.
“I will discuss with the school management to see how I can resume classes so that I do well in class and in sports. It was tough calling for me because I had to concentrate on the season which was busy and it involved a lot of travelling but I’m happy at least I can go to class for two semesters before I embark on the next season,” said Omanyala.
Kipchoge challenged athletes not to go through the school but to work hard and earn the purpose of them being in school.
“I want to urge athletes not to go through the school but be in school with a purpose of passing and being relevant in their course. You can meet someone who has done form four but writing the name is a challenge. Those are not the type of education we want but the quality one,” said the world marathon record holder.
Chemos, the athlete’s representative, pointed out that she had to go to school.
“As a retired athlete, I want to tell athletes that they should go past running and further their education to build your future,” said Chemos, who has completed her degree in sports management.
Jepkosgei, who started her training camp, Kapchemoiywo Athletics Training Camp, has also established a school to nurture others.
“As much as I love sports, my tertiary education, I did not do anything with sports but Social work to help me nurture young people very well,” said Jepkosgei.