Let’s honour and fete our heroes

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By LETTER
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In Marathon running, Eliud Kipchoge is easily the greatest of all time.

On Sunday, the most decorated marathoner on earth ran the second fastest race in history to win the London Marathon for a record fourth time.

As usual, his victory was celebrated across the nation. Kipchoge’s heroic exploits in London raised the profile of the country.

Sadly, other than the congratulatory messages on his social media platforms, we have done little to appreciate his contribution to the nation.

Whenever Kipchoge smashes a marathon record on European or American soil, Kenya gains.

More people get to know about our beautiful country, which translates to growth in tourism.

This, eventually, builds the economy by creating employment opportunities for thousands of Kenyans.

Kipchoge is just one of the heroes who have sacrificed their time to fly our flag high. Most of them, sadly, go unappreciated.

Compared to other countries, Kenya rarely fetes outstanding sportsmen and women.

This was evident when Kipchoge was overlooked for a State award. Instead, we honoured some funny characters in society.

Our neighbours Tanzania are way ahead in this.

When their national team Taifa Stars qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 39 years, President John Magufuli gifted each player a parcel of land in the political capital Dodoma to build a home.

In Kenya, Harambee Stars only got ‘congratulatory messages’. After sustained public pressure, the government released Sh244 million ‘for preparations’. We can certainly do better as a country.

We are only good at praising our heroes when they transit to the next world. How shameful.

Many legends have suffered in poverty and died poor. We saw what happened to legendary athlete Nyandika Maiyoro, who was neglected by the State and died a pauper in February.

Maiyoro brought glory to Kenya in the 1950s, but what did we do when he needed us most? We ignored him.

Joe Kadenge, the legendary footballer, has been unwell for a while, but little has been done to support him.

For how long shall this continue? As a country, we need to change.

Let’s appreciate our heroes while they are still with us; let’s show them how valued they are.

We can honour our stars by naming streets or roads after them.

Appreciation doesn’t always have to be in monetary form. Let’s start somewhere.



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