In sports more often people do not acknowledge women sports as much as men’s sports. From the time of early Olympics, the role of women in sports and games was neglected.But later days women are into sports with more talent than men. Today women can compete in sports, once a vestige of male domination; there is now room for women in that arena. But even today women in sports are not portrayed in the same light as their male counterparts. To a large degree, this is because of today’s cultural ideal of women. There are some fantastic women athletes who had brought a great changes in sports field with their dedication and passion.Here is a woman who brought a tremendous change in Olympics.
Tegla Loroupe, World Record Holder in Long Distance Running
There aren’t many young African athletes who don’t know her name. She is an athletic idol, having won five half-marathon world championships and broken three world records, which she still holds. Beyond her exceptional sports career, she is a passionate advocate for peace, education and women’s rights. This is why she won the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Billie Jean King Contribution Award.
Tegla Loroupe was born in 1973 in Kenya into a Pokot family. Keeping to tribal traditions, her dad had four wives and 24 children. From a very early age, Tegla worked in the fields and took care of her younger siblings.
A Marathon Player Tegla From Kenya
One of the 24 siblings, Tegla first began running when she was six years old. She was attending a school ten kilometres away from her remote area and had to run that distance to and from school every day. Her father didn’t want her to go to school and said she would amount to nothing, calling her “Useless.”
However, when she got to school, she began participating in races and would defeat older students. It was then that she found her athletic talent and decided she would become a runner, although no one supported her, except her mother.
The Athletics Kenya organisation didn’t initially support Tegla either, however, in 1988, she won a cross-country race with barefoot, and this changed their mindset. The following year she began to compete internationally, earning her first pair of running shoes.
In 1994, she won her first New York City Marathon and was idolised by many in Africa, and a year later she reclaimed the title. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she ran both of her races barefoot, saying she felt, out of duty to all of the people taking her as a bearer of hope back in Kenya, that she should.
While Tegla slowed in her running career, she became a United Nations Ambassador of Sport. In 2003, she created an annual series of Peace Marathons, sponsored by the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation. Presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, and other government officials ran with warriors and nomadic groups from Kenya, to bring peace to the area. She established the Tegla Loroupe Peace Academy and orphanage that sponsors the education and upbringing of more than 400 students in north-west Kenya.
Ambassador Tegla Loroupe Honoured as UN Person of the Year in Kenya
After winning several major marathons, in addition to three individual and two team world half-marathon championships and competing at three Olympic Games, she retired from professional running and turned to charitable work.
Interview With Tegla
She was the one who found the running talent in refugees, and she made them participate in the Olympics as she had the good contact with IOC and the president at that time..
Refugees Participated In Olympics In Rio With Tegla
In 2003, the Olympian created the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, before becoming a UN ambassador for the sport in 2006. Through her foundation, she was actively involved in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in her country, where she organised the first Peace Race in 2014.
Loroupe also set up a training centre for refugee athletes in Ngong part of Nairobi, and these included the five athletes from South Sudan who were on the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio last August.
Tegla’s life story is a good example of how natural talent combined with determination and hard work can lead to success against all the odds in sports.
Moreover, she is a great example of an open-hearted warrior for the values that she believes in. She endlessly keeps promoting peace, environmental consciousness, the right for education and women’s rights.