Smiles in Iten as coaches earn cash to set up a sports gym

The athletics fraternity in Elgeyo-Marakwet County has a reason to celebrate after athletics coach Elkanah Rutto bagged The North Rift Region Tujiamini Gold award in a collective show of effort by the larger coaching fraternity, in a bid to further propel the sport to greater heights.

In one of many firsts, coach Rutto was elated by the recognition directed to the coaches that dedicate countless hours training athletes who eventually bask in the limelight of their hard-earned glory.

“Most of the time, athletes receive recognition for their success so this is a commendable step towards appreciating everyone who plays a role in contributing to the success of athletics among other sports in the country,” said Elkanah as he urged other corporate to jump on the bandwagon.

The coach, who is also a former athlete, pursued athletics to give back to his community. The award that will benefit 52 like-minded coaches and about 5,000 athletes is set to facilitate the construction of a fully equipped gym that benefits both local and international athletes as well as residents in the area.

“In Iten, many athletes cannot afford privately-owned gyms which are very expensive and few in the area more so considering that the larger majority come from humble backgrounds. The new facility aims to alleviate the financial burden for many athletes who currently lack management support,” remarked Coach Rutto.

Echoing the unanimity, athletes under Coach Rutto expressed pleasure at the win reiterating that the noble display will go a long way in influencing their success,“Getting access to a gym is the hardest bit in training and athletes are forced to improvise due to the high expenses therefore gym accessibility will be ideal for long term success,” said Ezekiel Sirma, a resident athlete.

His sentiments were backed by Rael Mithieka currently training for road races and marathons, who iterated the importance of gym training and the lack of it thereof in governing an athlete’s progress.

SportPesa representative, Deborah Chepkirui, rehashed the objective of the Tujiamini initiative whose main focus is to grow talents at the grassroots, “Three regions down, Tujiamini continues to uplift talents as well as embrace the aspect of inclusivity in its applications thus everyone is encouraged to apply, men and women alike.”

Additionally, DBA Africa Director, Lyle Asiligwa, attributed the success of Tujiamini so far to the individual-based approach taken by the initiative whose success is evident through existing talents, ranging from the grassroots to the national team level.

Further amplifying the need for a united front, Lyle urged corporates to merge efforts towards the bigger intention of developing talents in the country noting that it takes a village to build champions.

As curtains fall on the Tujiamini initiative in the North Rift Region, organizers are intensifying efforts to encourage more women and people with disabilities to submit applications highlighting the anticipation for more inclusive and competitive opportunities in the remaining counties

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