Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Conjestina Achieng - Part of the Tragedy of Kenyan Sports Heroes

A section of mainstream media yesterday showed us the deplorable state that one of Kenya's better known female boxers Conjestina Achieng is living in. Last year she was checked into a mental facility after her sister managed to get the media to highlight her plight and was released though it has been claimed she's still on the verge of ruin from substance abuse and depression.
We share our concerns and hope that Conjestina's condition improves. But of greater concern is what happens to many other former sports personalities. From former footballers to former athletes and boxers we have seen the sorry state that most of them have ended up in. Abuse of alcohol, cases of depression as well as abandonment from their handlers are some of the issues they suffer from.
In a country where social services are still very deficient especially for the middle-aged and the ageing, the Government has not helped matters too by having not much in structures to look into such issues. It's even worse for sports personalities who have to look at their respective sports federations and organisations most of which still struggle to manage daily affairs let alone the very sports people they ought to think of.
Anyone remember Kennedy Ochieng ? He was one of Kenya's best sprinters, he died of suicide after suffering from depression; Peter Dawo - top scorer in the Mandela Cup in 1987 who now ekes a living from Kenya Railways yards ( the last time we checked); Philip Waruinge - Kenya's first boxing medalist in the Olympic Games in 1968 as well as winner of the Val Baker Trophy who apparently lives with the mother in Nakuru having lost his eyesight and barely eking out anything out of life.
These are but some of the names that we can remember. There are many more who we haven't mentioned in worse states. As we pride ourselves as a sporting nation, we should remember those who brought this country the fame and glory of years gone by. We should not let history judge us harshly in that respect while we can make a better place for all.

Bwana Waziri in related news, we still await word on the proposed Sports Bill along with the tabling of reports from the All Africa Games in Maputo last year as well as Olympic Games in London. There ought to be 'spilling of blood' to make our sporting officials toe the line in future Games.

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