Kenya bails out 1,500 vulnerable athletes with food and stipend

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Kenya's athletes run during a training session in Nairobi, ahead of the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, August 5, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo/File Photo
Kenya’s athletes run during a training session in Nairobi, ahead of the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, August 5, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo/File Photo

Kenya’s government has identified the first batch of 58 athletes from a total of 1,500 who are in dire need of support due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This group of athletes, identified and verified by world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, will benefit from a 100 million shilling (940,000 U.S. dollars) government bailout after the pandemic decimated the global sporting calendar.

Sports cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed said these athletes will be cushioned from the effects of the virus after they made a distress call to her office for help. The ministry has since sent them a consignment of food to support them.

“We made a partnership with Kipchoge and they identified 58 athletes in need of support. Kipchoge helped us identify the needy ones, mostly those who were preparing to compete in the U20 Championships alongside others who targeted to make a living by competing in postponed events,” said Mohamed.

Nairobi was due to stage the World Junior Championships in July, but that event has been postponed with the organizers still working on an appropriate replacement date in conjunction with World Athletics.

“We have managed to send them enough food packages to sustain them for the month and we are hoping to top it up with some allowances,” she added.

Each athlete will receive food and 100 dollars.

“The sports ministry is identifying the needy ones from other disciplines where 1,500 were picked. They have been our best ambassadors out there and it is our turn to stand with them,” Mohamed said.

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