By Tobby Otum
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has celebrated Kenyan women athletes for their sacrifice, hard work, perseverance and commitment.
The First Lady said Kenya has witnessed a rise of exceptional women athletes who have smashed barriers and set new records globally over the years.
“We have witnessed their efforts in paving the road and raising the bar for other women and girls as examples and mentors,” she said.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s message to the athletes was contained in a recorded video delivered to World Athletics, the international governing body for athletics, as it celebrates women in athletics during the month of March in honour of this year’s International Women’s Day.
The First Lady, at the same time, underscored the role of sports as one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls.
“This is why World Athletics has made a commitment to celebrate women in sports during the week of International Women’s Day,” the First Lady said.
She singled out exceptional Kenyan women athletes like Tegla Lorupe and Catherine Ndereba who created a lasting legacy in athletics.
Ms Lorupe established the Tegla Lorupe Peace Foundation that advocates for peace among Pokot and Turkana communities while former elite marathoner Ndereba has committed to coach and nurture young talent through the Kenya Prisons Sports Association.
The First Lady also saluted Brigid Kosgei, the current marathon world record holder and, the 2018 and 2019 winner of Chicago Marathon.
She acknowledged and applauded other prominent Kenyan women athletes including Peres Jepchirchir, Hellen Obiri and Faith Kipyegon, saying they have continued to inspire many other girls and women who are starting their careers in schools and training camps across the country.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta underscored the impact of athletics as a tool for creating powerful connections in rallying people towards a common cause.
She cited her Beyond Zero Half Marathon as an important platform that has helped to raise awareness and support for her ‘No woman shall die while giving life’ call to action since 2014.
“The Half Marathon has rallied elite runners and thousands of Kenyans to run for different health interventions including: Zero Female Genital Mutilation, Zero Child Marriages and Zero New HIV infections,” she said.
The Kenyan First Lady said Beyond Zero Marathon provided a training platform for elite runners to participate in international athletics championships including the Paralympics.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta applauded World Athletics for its efforts towards a 50-50 gender balance in its leadership composition by 2030.