The first phase of an Athletics for a Better World project organised in cooperation with the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation took place in Ngong, Kenya over the weekend.
The project brings together Kids Athletics – a programme initiated by the IAAF in 2005 and the long-term work of former marathon world record-holder Tegla Loroupe, which culminated in the entry of the inaugural Refugee Team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Through the Kids Athletics in Refugee Camps project, the IAAF trained athlete refugees and coaches from the Tegla Loroupe Training Camp to become Kids Athletics Activators. The purpose was to create a team of athletics trainers who could then train people on the ground in the UNHRC refugee settlements and the host communities to become Kids Athletics coaches able to conduct regular Kids Athletics sessions for local children.
“My dream has been to help young people gain confidence and purpose through athletics,” said Peace Champion Tegla Loroupe. “I have learnt so much from my sport and I want to share this. When I was looking for financial support to start the training camps, the IAAF was generous and the Refugee Team that competed at the Rio 2016 Games owes its early steps to the funding and support from the IAAF. I am so excited about the next stage of this programme, developing the coaches for Kids Athletics from within the refugee camps. This is how we will build future citizens and inspire future athletes.”
Fifteen people from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Kenya participated in the kick-off three-day workshop, held at the Tegla Loroupe Training Camp for Athlete Refugees in Ngong, outside Nairobi, from 9-11 March, conducted by IAAF Lecturer Innocent Asiimwe and coordinated by Eunice Hasango, manager at the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation.
“Athletics is a sport that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “I have long admired the work Tegla and her team have done and continue to do and I am proud that it was funding from the IAAF in 2014 that started the journey to creating the Refugee Team, a team we look forward to welcoming at our events this year.
“Kids Athletics training is the first step in the pyramid of IAAF coaching courses and is a great way to empower the athlete refugees by giving them the basic training which will enable them to eventually continue along the path and pursue careers in coaching,” added Coe.
Among the trainees to be coached by the first participants will be the reformed warriors. These warriors used to engage in cattle rustling but gave up their weapons after taking part in Tegla Loroupe’s Peace Races, first staged in her native West Pokot region in 2003 and recently developed into a cross-border event held in neighbouring Uganda. The Kids Athletics training will allow the reformed warriors to gain skills and become an integrated and integral part of the community, passing on their learning and skills to others.
On 28 and 30 March, after the World Cross Country Championships being staged in Kampala, Uganda, the IAAF will be taking some members of the media on a visit to the Kids Athletics activities organised in the refugee settlements in Moroto and in Kapenguria, West Pokot.