By Abdi Hussein
Evans Murutu, a man who bagged three gold medals at the 2014 Africa Youth Games, is languishing in poverty in Kitengela.
He has nothing to show for the determination and the hard work he invested in athletics other than three pieces of silverware.
His is a sad story of a life full of misery, a vicious circle of poverty and shattered dreams at a tender age.
“I was born into a poor family. Since I could not continue with formal education, I took solace in using odd equipment in local gyms to train until I felt I was ready for competitive sports,” said Murutu.
The class seven dropout trained himself in weightlifting to be a champion in Ghetto gym in Kitengela.
In May 2014, he represented Kenya under Kenya Amatuer Weightlifting and Body Building Association ((KAWBBA) and won a gold medal at the second Africa Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana, another gold medal in the Snatch and Clean and one more in the Jerk categories.
‘Later in the same year, I went to Botswana as part of Team Kenya to participate in the continental championship, a qualifier to the Youth Olympics held in China. I participated in the competition and won,’ he said.
The father of one reveals that his troubles began when he demanded for a government cash award of Shs 3 million.
He adds that the government had promised them Shs 1 million for each gold won and that he had big plans to improve his life.
‘A senior government officer demanded for a bribe of Shs 56,000 to facilitate the processing of the cheque. I didn’t know I was chasing the wind,’ Muruti said.
Muruti said that he was forced to quit competitive sports and that he has lost hope of ever getting the money. His dream of building a gym has also become a wild dream.
Over the last four years, Murutu has doubled up as boda boda rider and a part-time worker at a garage in Kitengela where he makes between Shs 500-Shs 600 per day.
Currently, he lives with his family in a single room his mother used to live in before she relocated to the village.
In his free time, he practices at a gym within the garage alongside his peers, who regard him so highly.
“Sometimes I’m ashamed when I see my fellow youths praising me when I’m training with them yet I live in squalor,” he said.
He says he wouldn’t like them to emulate him and that despite all his misfortunes, he still hopes to bounce back.