Youth champion Evans Murutu Sokoto reduced to penury - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 11 February 2021

Youth champion Evans Murutu Sokoto reduced to penury


 The early morning hooting of hundreds of motorcycles in the dusty Kitengela town, Kajiado County, signal a new day.

Wearing helmets and heavy clothing to beat the cold, the riders are in a rush to get clients.

One of the cyclists is Mr Evans Murutu Sokoto, a winner of three gold medals in weightlifting at the Africa Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana, in May 2014.

Mr Murutu, 25, won gold medals in Snatch, Clean and Jerk (69kg) categories. However, he has been reduced to a bodaboda rider and a part-time motor garage worker in the past four years.

When the Nation team met him in Kitengela on Wednesday, he had a distant look in his eyes, seemingly thinking about what might have been.

Mr Murutu said his promising career crumbled after he won the three gold medals representing Kenya under the Kenya Amatuer Weightlifting and Body Building Association (KAWBBA). “The abject poverty in our family could not let allow me to continue with my formal schooling,” Mr Murutu said.

The class seven dropout had trained himself to be a youth champion using outdated equipment at a ‘ghetto’ gym.

Later in 2014, Mr Muritu went to Botswana as part of Team Kenya to participate in the continental championship, which was also a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games in China. He qualified for the championship but did not manage to win any medal.

The father of one said his troubles started when he visited KAWBBA for his cash award of Sh3 million.

He said a senior officer at the federation demanded a bribe of Sh56,000 to ‘facilitate’ the processing of his cheque. 

Evans Murutu

Evans Murutu at his workplace in Kitengela.

Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

"The government had promised to give us Sh1 million for each gold won.I had big dreams and plans to improve my life. That was not to be,” Mr Muritu said. “My trips to the federation headquarters became regular until I was locked out despite parting with a bribe.”

All he has from his sporting achievements are trophies and medals. He currently makes between Sh500 and Sh600 daily from his hustles.

In his free time, he likes practising at a gym near the garage. "I am ashamed when I see my fellow youth idolise me when I am training with them yet I live in squalor,” he said.

Kenya Amateur Weightlifting Association member Daniel Otieno said the federation is marred by corruption. "Many youth champions are languishing in poverty after years of training and representing Kenya in different competitions.Something is amiss at KAWBBA,”  said Mr Otieno who doubles up as gym instructor and motor vehicle garage owner in Kitengela town.

KAWBBA boss Pious Ochieng could not be reached for comment.

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