First lady Margaret Kenyatta was on Sunday awarded the 2019 Health Leaders award by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the second edition of ‘Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge’ event held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The First Lady was recognised for her outstanding advocacy on global health matters by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO.
“Today is not just about sport; it’s about promoting health for all. We have all come together with one goal: to demonstrate that we cannot take health for granted,” said Ghebreyesus.
“Physical activity is the bedrock of healthy living that prevents many illnesses,” said Kenyatta. “Linking this to good nutrition and reinforcing healthy habits, including physical exercise, is something we as leaders need to encourage in our communities.”
Other special guests in attendance included Formula One racing driver Romain Grosjean and mental health advocate Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s mother.
Also, in attendance were the four-time New York City marathon champion Mary Keitany and European half marathon champion Tadesse Abraham.
Kenyatta is also the founder of the Beyond Zero Campaign which culminated to the Beyond Zero Marathon-aimed at raising funds for the campaign that seeks to reduce maternal deaths-that marked its fourth edition this year.
The First Lady was also the patron of the World Under-18 championships held in Nairobi in 2017 was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Sicily Kariuki (Health) and her Sports and Heritage counterpart ambassador Amina Mohammed.
“The Beyond Zero Marathon which I host, have brought together thousands of Kenyans for the past four years to run for a cause. It has also enhanced awareness of the benefits of healthy living. I add my voice to Walk the Talk, as my personal commitment,” Kenyatta posted on her twitter handle.
WHO staged the inaugural edition of the Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge in 2018, attracting more than 4000 people from the Geneva public, local institutions and delegates to the World Health Assembly.
This free event is open to people of all ages and abilities, and involves three connected routes of three, five and eight kilometres.
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Saliva ban may make cricket ‘boring’, says Australian star
SYDNEY, Australia, May 26 – Australian paceman Mitchell Starc warned Tuesday that cricket risks becoming “pretty boring” if ball-tampering rules are not relaxed in response to a coronavirus-linked ban on using saliva to shine the ball.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to implement the ban in June after receiving medical advice that spit poses a COVID-19 transmission risk.
Bowlers traditionally get the ball to move in the air, deceiving the batsman, by shining one side using sweat or saliva.
Starc said swinging the ball in such a manner was a crucial part of the contest between bowler and batsman.
“We don’t want to lose that or make it less even, so there needs to be something in place to keep that ball swinging,” he told reporters in an online press conference.
“Otherwise people aren’t going to be watching it and kids aren’t going to want to be bowlers.
“In Australia in the last couple of years we’ve had some pretty flat wickets, and if that ball’s going straight it’s a pretty boring contest.”
Anil Kumble, chairman of the ICC cricket committee, said this week that the saliva ban was only intended to be a temporary measure during the coronavirus crisis.
The former Indian Test spinner suggested cricket regulators did not want to open the door to using foreign substances to alter the condition of the ball.
Starc said he understood such reluctance, given the clear rules that exist against ball tampering.
But he said if bowlers were disadvantaged by a saliva ban, they should be given more leeway elsewhere.
The 30-year-old said ground staff could be ordered not to produce batsman-friendly flat wickets, or ball-tampering rules could be changed allowing a substance such as wax could be applied to the ball.
“It’s an unusual time for the world and if they’re going to remove saliva shining for a portion of time they need to think of something else for that portion of time as well,” he said.
“(Either) with the wickets not being as flat or at least considering this shining wax.”
Australian cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra is developing a wax applicator that allows players to shine the ball without using saliva.
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NBA great Ewing out of hospital
NEW YORK, United States, May 25 – NBA great Patrick Ewing has left hospital and is recovering at home after being diagnosed with COVID-19, his son said on Monday.
The 57-year-old Hall-of-Famer was hospitalised last week after announcing he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
However the former New York Knicks star and current Georgetown University coach is now on the mend at home, his son Patrick Ewing Jr. said on Twitter.
“I want to thank all of the doctors and hospital staff for taking care of my father during his stay, as well as everyone who has reached out with thoughts and prayers to us since his diagnosis,” Ewing Jr. wrote.
“My father is now home and getting better. We’ll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines. I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourselves and your loved ones.”
Ewing, who was a member of the 1992 Olympic gold medal-winning “Dream Team”, and also won Olympic gold in 1984, played 17 seasons in the NBA, mostly for the Knicks, earning 11 All-Star selections.
An open letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta
I pray this finds you in good health.
First, Your Excellency, I’d like to congratulate you for the great efforts that you, and your good government, have employed in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
God is with us, Sir, and, together, we shall slay this ubiquitous monster.
Your Excellency, I listened, with keen interest last Saturday morning, to your delivery of the government’s eight-point, Sh53.7 billion Economic Stimulus Programme that will, hopefully, get us out of the woods.
Indeed, Sh5 billion for infrastructure development, Sh6.5 billion in education support, Sh3 billion for SMEs, focus on hiring health workers and Sh1.7 billion for increasing hospital bed capacity is well thought-out mitigation.
As is Sh4 billion to kick-start our tourism and conservancy, Sh850 million to stave off floods, Sh540 million for a “greening” programme, Sh600 million to shore up local manufacturing and a further Sh4.5 billion to support small-scale farming and horticulture.
Your Excellency, your stimulus programme will no doubt open up employment space and offer hope for millions of unemployed youths across the country.
However, Sir, precious little is being done for our sportspersons who appear rudderless in these days of the pandemic.
With Covid-19 having stopped play, there are tens of thousands of professional sportsmen and women without bread on their table.
From, inter alia, football league players to volleyballers, basketballers, hockey aces, and swimmers, rugby stars, cricketers along with both upcoming and elite track and field professionals.
Mweshimiwa Rais, for once, there is good rapport at the Ministry of Sport with Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary Joe Okudo a tag team working in tandem and quickly transforming the ministry’s operations, giving us all hope.
They are on the same page, reading from the same script.
Your Excellency, I hope you sustain this good duo of executives to the end of your term because, I’m certain, they will help you bequeath good legacy for sport.
Especially with political vultures circling State House in anticipation of a Cabinet reshuffle as you whip your foot soldiers into compliance with Jubilee position.
Thankfully, CS Amina and PS Okudo are apolitical, and their focus on service delivery is impeccable. Please retain them.
However, they need your hand in cushioning our sport that has been dealt a near fatal blow by Covid-19.
Sir, the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund was seen as the turning point for Kenya’s sports development.
But while the Fund released Sh7 billion to the general Covid-19 initiative, paltry allocation has gone to cushioning sport from the pandemic.
Mheshimiwa Rais, your good CS and PS have done well in launching the food stimulus for our athletes, but that was just a drop in the ocean and more long-term solutions are necessary to keep our sportspeople afloat.
I’m sure the athletes have already exhausted the rations.
Sportspeople are as vital to our economy, in the grand scheme of things, as are businesspeople, farmers, artisans and SMEs.
Your Excellency, questions abound as to where over Sh100 billion in Fund revenues generated last year alone went to.
And given that tax on football betting rakes in huge sums for the Exchequer, why should our professional footballers in the Premier League, National League and Women’s League scatter at the sight of the landlord?
Especially with the allocation for sport from the Fund being at 35 percent?
In my conservative estimates, our professional footballers across the leagues are losing approximately Sh40 million in monthly income due to stoppage of play forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sir, the last time I visited Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, the number of footballers incarcerated there could easily make up one strong football team.
Should our footballers be ignored during these difficult pandemic times, Your Excellency, your officers will soon be invited to Kamiti to launch a month-long football tournament as vulnerable players turn to crime for survival.
But I’m sure you wouldn’t want to bequeath a legacy of robbers, murderers, drunks, tramps and other rustics.
Mheshimiwa Rais, I must give you credit for personally taking interest in sports infrastructure development and kick-starting the renovations at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, Moi International Sports Centre and Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino Stadium.
These facilities, along with Iten’s Kamariny Stadium, among others, in fresh, world-class state, will most certainly be vital launch pads for our sportspeople’s recovery in the post-Covid-19 period.
Naturally, Sir, there is scepticism over such renovation projects as successive governments have flattered only to deceive.
Even after CS Amina’s stadiums visit to Kisumu and Eldoret last week, doubting Thomases still see this as same old rhetoric.
In fact, Your Excellency, the guards at the Kipchoge Keino’s Stadium entrance have seen as many Sports Cabinet Secretaries as the red berets manning State House gates.
From, in no particular order, Najib Balala to Ochillo Ayacko, Maina Kamanda, Ababu Namwamba, Hassan Wario, Rashid Echesa and, now, Amina Mohamed, they have all come to either inspect works at the stadium or offer pledges of reconstruction.
Let’s hope, in the next few months, these Eldoret guards will finally see CS Amina usher you in, Sir, as you arrive to officially open a refurbished Kipchoge Keino Stadium which David Rudisha will use for his speed-work sessions as he prepares to defend his Olympic 800 metres title in Tokyo.
Sir, you will have left an excellent legacy, not just for North Rift athletes, but also for global sport, given that foreign athletes flock Eldoret in droves for training in adjacent high altitude locations, including Iten, Kaptagat and Kapsabet.
Commander-in-Chief Sir, your able ADC, Lt. Col. Stelu Lekolool, may not have mentioned to you, but he was a brilliant hockey player in his high school days at Mang’u.
I’m sure he will agree with me that one of the greatest legacies you shall leave is a refurbished City Park Hockey Stadium, and further tax incentives for investors in sport.
Meanwhile, I hope to catch up with Lt. Col. Lekolool soon to follow up on unfinished business we have regarding the development of sports in his community.
Your Excellency Sir, it would require an afternoon over tea (or more potent stuff) to discuss further the needs of Kenyan sport.
I know you are quite busy, Sir, so I won’t even get into other financial requirements necessary to get Kenyan sport out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and help in the resumption of play.
Like the budget CS Amina and the federations require for testing of players for the coronavirus – especially in contact sport – before the all-clear for competition can be given by the Ministry of Health through your good office, Sir.
Or indeed the possibility of you discussing with your new CDF, General Robert Kariuki Kibochi, the drafting of more sportspeople into the Kenya Defence Forces for gainful employment, to follow in the footsteps of great sporting soldiers like Paul Tergat, Francis Onyiso and Hellen Obiri.
Finally, Your Excellency, thanks for picking Kisii County for the Madaraka Day celebrations this year.
It’s a pity that, after having supported Governor James Ongwae in refurbishing the Gusii Stadium and cleaning up the town, the curfew and travel restrictions mean that June 1 won’t bring the anticipated big celebrations to Kisii.
But I hope, Mheshimiwa Rais, when normalcy returns, you will visit Kisii County and pass by my home county of Nyamira to commission the rehabilitation of a few roads.
Like the Bondeni-Makairo-Magombo road whose tarmacking you pledged in 2017.
Sir, this road is a suitable candidate for the 2021 Rhino Charge, given its horrible state.
Mheshimiwa Rais, please pass my regards to Her Excellency the First Lady, a strong supporter of sports, and to your family in general.
May God bless you, your family, our sportsmen and women, along with our great nation of Kenya.
Wishing you good health, Sir.
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