Former Olympic champion Kenyan quits athletics for politics

Nairobi, Feb 20 (IANS) Beijing Olympic Games 800m gold medallist Wilfred Bungei of Kenya has quit athletics to pursue a career in politics in order to inspire youth to believe in themselves.

The 37-year-old Bungei, who became World No. 1 in 2002, claimed the major title he coveted for long when he won the Olympic gold with a time of 1:44.65 with a dominant front-running performance in 2008.

“As a motivational speaker who has been inspiring the youth, I want to go one step higher to offer political leadership and open for them opportunities that can impact on their living,” he told Xinhua news agency at the weekend during Kenya’s National Cross Country Championships held in Nairobi.

Bungei has declared interest in vying for the Emgwen parliamentary seat located in western Kenya that was at one time represented by another former athlete, Elijah Lagat who won the Boston Marathon in 2000.

Kenyans will go to the polls on August 8 to elect almost 1,900 public officials, including the President, senators, county governors, members of the National Assembly, members of county assemblies, and women county representatives.

“I want to champion for change in sports management in the country and bring transparency in order to restore lost glory especially in athletics after we found ourselves on the wrong side of doping,” Bungei said.

He said if elected to the national assembly, he will sponsor a Bill in Parliament that will cater for sportsmen and women in their retirement, especially after many of them fall into financial difficulties upon leaving athletics.

He said he will champion for the education of young athletes, most of who start earning a lot of money at a tender age and thereafter fall into financial ruin due to lack of acumen in handling their finances.

–IANS

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