NAIROBI, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- A senior sports official in Kenya has advised athletes to prepare for life after retirement from active competition.
Jackson Tuwei, president of Athletics Kenya (AK), said Kenyan athletes retire at a relatively young age, some even before they are married and therefore lack crucial life skills.
"Most of them retire from active competition before they reach 40. At the federation, we encourage them to pursue and at the same time prepare them for life outside sports," said Tuwei.
The official said that after retiring, the athletes come under a lot of pressure from the community, which sees them as rich, where many want them to contribute to their personal or communal well-being in one way or the other.
"If they retire without good preparation, the community can abuse their generosity by turning the athletes into a cash cow," said Tuwei.
To prevent such an incidence from happening, AK organizes seminars to instill in the athletes a mindset that will help them during and after life in sports.
The association held such a seminar last December, which was attended by over 200 elite athletes drawn from all parts of the country.
"We invited experts to talk to them on the subject of investments because most of them earn a lot of money while still young and need guidance on how to spend their hard-earned money," said Tuwei.
He said the athletes face several challenges from a society that praises them when they are winning races but forgets about them once they fade from the limelight, where they grab newspaper headlines like "from grace to grass".
"When retirement beckons, they start wondering what they will be doing because they are used to a certain routine in life that will soon come to an abrupt end," said Tuwei, adding that many have sunk into depression and alcoholism upon retirement.