Athletes in Laikipia and Nyandarua counties have called on Athletic Kenya to empower more female coaches as they were better placed to deal with issues affecting female athletes.
Speaking during an athlete Consultative Forum held at Nyahururu town, the athletes led by Marathoner Mary Wacera Ngugi noted that some of the female athletes were in exploitative and abusive relationships but lacked the right persons to speak to.
Wacera who was reacting to the murder of top female athlete, Agnes Tirop in her house in Iten town regretted that they lacked representation hence making it hard for them to open up to male coaches.
"There are so many issues that we face. I raised an issue myself on why they need to empower more female coaches' representation at Athletics Kenya or the agencies. Women, especially after what happened to Agnes Tirop, face so many challenges like domestic violence, abuse from their partners but maybe they have no one to talk to."
She added, "The coaches we have are male and there are issues I need to speak to a woman about and we don't have that presentation."
Ngugi noted, "Sometimes we feel we are afraid because when I am being threatened by a man I will be afraid to confide in another man but I would want to talk to a woman who understands me. That is one of the challenges that we are facing."
She at the same time regretted the death of races in the central region.
The local races she said used to be beneficial to athletes who never make it to international levels as they used to earn and also get motivation.
Her sentiments were echoed by Collins Kipruto who noted that junior athletes faced hardship in silence noting conducting those forums at the grassroots would help them more.
Athletics Kenya vice president Paul Mutui said the consultative meetings will help in gathering information that can inform remedial action.
The forums set to be held in 13 centres across Kenya kicked off on Monday with the first one being held in Ngong for Kajiado and Nairobi counties.
Other centres are Machakos, Embu, Nyeri counties and Nyahururu for Laikipia and Nyandarua counties that form cluster one of the forums.