Eunice Nekesa, Kenya’s first javelin gold medalist, pleaded with President William Ruto on Friday, December 27, over her financial status.
Despite setting a record in javelin in Africa by beating the then US-based athlete of Cameroonian origin, Agnes Tchuinte, Nekesa has, currently, nothing to smile about.
Narrating her ordeal, Nekesa stated that after winning the gold, she was among the athletes received by the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta at State House where was crowned a hero.
Eunice Nekesa, Kenya’s first javelin gold medalist speaking on Friday, January 27, 2023.
NTV However, all her dreams of setting more records and changing her life prospects went down the drain after Kenyatta passed on.
“I was never included in Kenya’s list of top achievers. Since then I have never received anything from the government,” Nekesa told NTV.
Recalling her rise to stardom, Nekesa stated that she was first rejected in Mombasa for being an alien who had upstaged the show. However, she emerged top in another round of trials held in Mombasa.
Her success had rubbed the officials the wrong way, who had their preferred lists of athletes poised to represent Kenya in the All-African Games in Algeria.
Nekesa, a standard three dropout, now survives by selling water and doing small-scale farming in Bungoma. Besides farming, she also hawks farm produce to put bread on her table.
Like other athletes who broke into the limelight before ending up in abject poverty, Nekesa pleads with the current administration to honour her.
Nekesa decried that neglect of sports personalities had forced them to become beggars.
“If this government finds it fit to help me, I will appreciate it,” she stated.
“The President should just remember us, even though we are old. We should not just be forgotten like rats and left to perish,” she pleaded.
President William Ruto speaking during the launch of affordable housing projects in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi County.