Athletics

Sudan-born Nathike stranded in Kenyan refugee camp

Sudan-born Nathike stranded in Kenyan refugee camp - Sports Leo

As Kenya heeded the call to stay indoors during the coronavirus lockdown, Refugee Olympic Athlete Rose Nathike was among the dozens of displaced people that had to pack their bags and go back to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.

The 26-year-old South Sudanese was at the peak of her high-altitude training camp in Iten, the area famed for producing some of Kenya’s top middle- and long-distance runners.

She would have been training in her normal surroundings at the Tegla Loroupe Refugee Training Centre in Ngong, just outside Kenya’s capital Nairobi, before it was ordered shut.

Athletics Kenya decided to close all training camps and running clubs countrywide due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

With nowhere else to go, Nathike went back to the remote refugee camp in far-away northern Kenya she has called ‘home’ since fleeing Sudan with her family as a 10-year-old.

“We went back to Ngong hopeful that the pandemic won’t be so bad, and we may still travel to Doha,” she told the Olympic Channel from the sprawling shantytown that houses nearly 200,000 refugees.

She was among 49 Refugee Athlete Scholarship holders drawn from all over the world across 11 sport disciplines who had been earmarked to take part in the IOC Refugee Olympic training camp in Doha in March, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“As a matter of fact, we would have been travelling back from Doha today [1 April]. With no travel and Athletics Kenya ordering all training camps closed, there was no way out.

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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