•Lorna Kiplagat said many athletes buy properties in the name of their spouses, leaving them penniless when things go south in their relationships
•She advised young athletes to be independent thinkers even as they seek professional advice on matters investment
•She was speaking at a sports symposium at Salewa Lodges in Naivasha on Saturday
The 2007 World cross country champion Lorna Kiplagat has advised young athletes to engage professionals when investing their winnings.
Kiplagat bemoaned many athletes who are left penniless after mistakenly buying properties and other investments in the names of their spouses or close relatives.
"You should be in control of your investments and do not let anyone make a decision for you. Many athletes, especially the female ones, entrust their properties to their spouses not knowing that when things go south in their relationships, they will be the biggest losers," Kiplagat said.
Even as they seek professional advice in matters investment, Kiplagat counselled the athletes to make bold decisions should these professionals fail to perform as expected.
"Even if you have an entourage to support you, you need to be an independent thinker. When buying land as most athletes do, you should conduct due diligence even as you seek professional help. It is okay to seek professional advice but the final decision rests with you," she said.
She warned athletes against surrounding themselves with the wrong company who eat off their sweat like leeches.
"You need the right entourage around you including family, friends, relatives, coaches and managers. They should be the kind of people who help you reach the next level of your career, rather than just eating the little you have gained thus far," the former Dutch runner said.
Kiplagat was lecturing on sports investment during a sports symposium at the Sawela Lodges in Naivasha on Saturday.
Apart from sports investment, the symposium deliberated on other issues, such as players' mental health, management of success and failure, social media and branding as well as sportspersons' relationship with the media.
Kiplagat, the founder of the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten, also encouraged sportspersons in attendance to live healthy as the first step to making successful investments.
"You need to invest in yourself before you can think of any other investments. Train hard and get enough sleep. Watch out for your mental health and avoid harmful foods and prohibited substances. In my opinion, alcohol is a prohibited substance because it prevents you from reaching your peak level."