Athletes turn to other talents as coronavirus continues to bite

Athletes turn to other talents  as coronavirus continues to bite

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” goes one of the many famous quotes by Albert Einstein.

This statement could have not come at a better time for one Dominic Ndigiti, the 2017 World Under-18 bronze medallist. 

Amidst the health problem that is now threatening the global economy, Ndigiti has found a new and innovative way of wading through these tough times as Covid-19 slows the world activities, including athletics. 

 There has been no athletic activity in Kenya since March when the first case of the novel coronavirus was first reported in the country. As a result, all Kenyan athletes were technically rendered jobless after the government banned all sporting activities. 

So until normality resumes, life must go on. People must pay bills and put food on the table; and Ndigiti, a race-walker, whose ultimate dream is to one day put on the red, green and black Kenyan colours at the biggest global sporting stage — the Olympics — is one of the many Kenyan sports heroes and heroines who are going out of their way to navigate through these tough economic times.

To him, an art skill learnt about six years ago is what he now depends on to put food on the table. Ndigiti now specialises in making effective but cheap energy saving cookers out of cement and clay at homes. 

“I started making these while still in class seven (2014),” Ndigiti, the Africa Under-20, 10,000m race walking champion, told SPORTS AFRICA, but little did he know that his time at Nyaore Bretek would one day come in handy when one can no longer depend on athletics for survival.

“I started making them by myself but I sharpened my skills when some foreigners volunteered to teach me,” he said adding that he charges between KSh250 and KSh4500 for the service.

The cost variation is subject to the distance where his services are wanted.

But it is not only Ndigiti who is doing something totally different from.

Stephen Waruru is a man of surprises. The diminutive Kenyan Premier League player resigned as an Army officer about two years ago but if there is one thing that he carried with him from the forces, his ability to make a bio digester.

The KCB forward, who first joined Sofapaka after he resigned as an Army officer, where he played for Ulinzi Stars, is now living ‘off football’, by constructing the effective waste management system. 

“I learnt the trade while still in the army,” ex- soldier Waruru revealed to SPORTS AFRICA. 

 Helen Obiri, another army officer and the reigning World Cross Country champion, is currently hard at work on her farms. The two time world 5000m champion ventured into farming after the athletics calendar was cut short by the pandemic.

“I farm some vegetables and maize at the moment which is a good pastime as i spend my free time with my family,” Obiri, who also has gold in World Relay (Nassau 2014, 4*1500m Relay), Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast 2018) as well as the Africa Championship (Assaba and Marrakech), revealed.

To put it into perspective, Waweru’s skill is capable of improving Obiri farm produce (fertilizer) while the products from the farm of the reigning world champion will be prepared using the energy saver cooker made by Ndigiti.