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The Murder that Shook the Running World | Bloomberg Investigates
Athletics in Kenya
- Kenyan athletes have been improving their performance and achieving better times in recent years.
- The Kenyan community is proud of its athletes and celebrates their success.
- However, there is a dark side to athletics in Kenya, where women are often mistreated by men in the sport fraternity.
Life in E10
- E10 is a small community in Kenya known for producing talented athletes.
- The community is closely-knit and has a timeless feel to it.
- It is the perfect place for runners to train, with minimal distractions and a focus on athletics.
The Path to Success
- Athletes in E10 join local training groups and are scouted by local and international trainers and agents.
- They may receive contracts from top brands and have their training regimes and race schedules planned out for them.
Agnes Jepchirchir's Rise and Tragedy
- Agnes Jepchirchir, a talented Kenyan athlete, achieved great success in her career.
- She broke the world record in the 10K race and represented Adidas as one of their sponsored athletes.
- However, behind the scenes, Agnes was in an abusive relationship with her husband and coach, Ibrahim Rotich.
- The violence escalated, leading Agnes to leave the family home and seek shelter in a runner's camp.
- Eventually, Ibrahim convinced her to return home, but tensions remained, and Agnes disappeared.
- She was later found murdered, and Ibrahim was arrested as the prime suspect.
Gender-Based Violence in Athletics
- Agnes's story exposed a larger problem of gender-based violence in Kenyan athletics.
- Many female athletes face abuse from their coaches, who take advantage of their vulnerable positions.
- Coaches manipulate their athletes by providing basic necessities like shoes and shelter, creating dependency.
- Athletes are often afraid to speak up or seek help due to fear of retribution or being ostracized.
- The mentality that gender-based violence should be kept within the family contributes to the normalization of such abuse.
Trup's Angels: Fighting Gender-Based Violence
- In response to these tragic events, Trup's Angels, an organization dedicated to eradicating gender-based violence, was formed.
- They educate women on their rights, provide support, and advocate for change within the athletic community.
- Trup's Angels encourages female athletes to have their own bank accounts and ensures their earnings are protected.
- They aim to change the culture surrounding gender-based violence and empower women to speak up and live healthy lives.
Responsibility of Sports Brands
- There is a discussion around the responsibility of sports brands like Adidas in protecting their sponsored athletes.
- While the focus is often on an athlete's performance, brands should also consider their well-being.
- Some argue that brands should be more aware of an athlete's personal situation and take action if abuse is suspected.
- However, others argue that brands may not always be aware of the full extent of an athlete's circumstances and rely on their representation for information.
- Ibrahim Rotich, the prime suspect in Agnes's murder, was arrested and is facing charges.
- There is a desire for justice to be served and for athletes to be protected from gender-based violence.
- The case has shed light on the need for education and awareness about human rights and the prevention of gender-based violence in Kenya.