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Early marriages, pregnancies a threat to Kenyan talents, says Korir

Korir observed that this has been one of the biggest challenges facing the youthful runners, forcing them to end their careers even before they sprout.

In Summary

• Unfortunately, especially for the girls, you are approached by some sweet-talking individuals who betroth you while you are still young and naive and before you realise, they have sent you into motherhood and vanished with your hard-earned resources — Korir

• Korir was on a countrywide tour visiting athletes who were meant to be in the 19 regional World U20 camps, but who have been forced to train at home following the government restrictions aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

Deborah Jemutai, Edna Chepkemoi and Maurine Cherotich at the Keringet World U20 training camp at Keringet Estate Primary School in Nakuru County on June 16, 2020.
Deborah Jemutai, Edna Chepkemoi and Maurine Cherotich at the Keringet World U20 training camp at Keringet Estate Primary School in Nakuru County on June 16, 2020.
Image: ERICK BARASA

Following revelations that thousands of school-going girls have fallen pregnant and into early marriages during the coronavirus crisis, Athletics Kenya Youth Development chairman Barnaba Korir has called on parents and guardians to be extra vigilant to keep their children along the narrow path.

Korir observed that this has been one of the biggest challenges facing the youthful runners, forcing them to end their careers even before they sprout.

While distributing food rations and cash stipends to runners training for the postponed World Under 20 Championships, Korir said it is sad to see ‘a child carrying a child or a child marrying a child’ adding that it is high time this was addressed once and for all.

 
 

“You can marry at that youthful stage of life but once the two of you stay in one house for some time, you realise that this person you married is  not the person you thought he/she is. Most often than not, the intentions do not match the expectations and this becomes a psychological problem that has sent most promising athletes off the track,” said Korir.

“It is not prudent to marry at a young age just because you have earned a million shillings after a competition. Instead, you should seek advice from trusted individuals in your life — parent, guardian, coach, teacher — to help you invest for the future since this will come in handy once your running career is over."

"Sport is a short-time career and that’s why you should also put the hard work in school to ensure that you are able to invest the money you earn to cushion you in retirement.”

“Unfortunately for especially the girls, you are approached by some sweet-talking individuals who betroth you while you are still young and naive and before you realise, they have sent you into motherhood and vanished with your hard-earned resources,” Korir added.

On Tuesday, a report on teen pregnancies by Children’s Department Technical Working Group indicated that Machakos County had over 4,000 pregnant school-going children while a similar surge had been recorded in the rest of the counties.

“You must be obedient to your parents and guardians and always consult them whenever you want to do something. Despite being the man I am, I still consult my older brother whenever I am doing something and with his words, I rarely go wrong,” he added.

Korir was on a countrywide tour visiting athletes who were meant to be in the 19 regional World U20 camps, but who have been forced to train at home following the government restrictions aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

 
 

“I want the young athletes to celebrate their hard-earned cash into their twilight years and not falling from riches to rags like I have seen some do over the years,” added Korir.

He also cautioned them against spending their money in purchases that would give them no returns.

“You can’t earn some small cash and decide to buy a car. Invest in ventures that can get you money and only then you can buy a car to facilitate your movement while monitoring your other businesses,” he added.

“If you get money at a young age, talk to your teacher or coach on what you can do with it. Speak with your parents on how to invest the cash. They will advice wisely. You can buy a piece of land or cattle, which are a good investments."

"In my youthful age, I went to the USA in 1984. It was easy to get a very nice car with 100 dollars but I had to seek advice from my brother, Amos. He told me that buying a vehicle is not a priority,” he said. “Even President Uhuru Kenyatta have advisers, why not you?