Refugees running for glory, not war at Kasarani

By emmanuel sabuni
Jul 13, 2017
  • Lydia Mamun Philips lines up for the 400m heats at the IAAF World U18 championships.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Three refugee runners Sunday Peter, Mohammed Ahmed Abubakar and Lydia Mamun Philips are keen to hone their skills to a podium finish. (Photo by Emmanuel Sabuni)

They ran away from their countries because of civil war. But they are not running scared anymore.They are now racing for glory, chasing World U18 medals and raising awareness on their pliight at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Sunday Kamisa Peter, Lydia Mamun Philip and Mohamed Ahmed Abubakar are refugees who settled in Kenya.

A haven for them, as they can train and compete with the best at top level.

From Kakuma refugee camp, Peter competed in 800m race on Thursday finishing crossing the finish line in a slowed 2:32.76, possiny the only race he will run here but his mission well accomplished.

While many athletes would complain about their failed qualifications, Peter's achievement was clear for all for to see.

“This was my first time to compete in 800m but am not dissapointed at all finishing last. I used to compete in 1,500m but I recently changed to 800m and I want to specialize in that,” said Peter.

The 17-year-old born and bred in Kenya after her parents sought refuge in Kenya from South Sudan, trains under with Tegla Loroupe at the Refugee athletes camp in Ngong.

Seventeen year old Philip competed in 400m and wants to perfect the art to ensure that she shines in future. Her time of 1:07.55 from heat three on Wednesday may not count but it meant everything to her.

“Am happy with what I achieved. Am here because I won during refuge trials and that will propel my career in future,” said Philip, the class seven pupil at Oloolua Primary School who was initially based at the Daadab refugee camp.

Ever smiling Abubakar is well versed in 1500m looking forward to becoming a great athlete in future. Coming from Ethiopia, a country well known for producing world leading athletes lives in Kakuma refugee camp.

His love for his adopted nation evident.

“Yes I support Ethiopians while competing with the rest but not Kenyans. I support Kenyans athletes a lot because majority of them are my friends and we train together in Ngong,” said Abubakar.

He came to Kenya in 2009 as a young boy, staying with both parents at the camp.

Their coach Michael Biwott was optimistic that come next year, the athletes will be on top form as they had shown considerable improvements after six months in camp.

“We are preparing them for next championships and they are sharpening their skills very well. They are young people who need more guidance and that is what am exactly doing,” said Biwott.