The National Olympic Committee of Kenya’s Step-Up Series is proud to announce the successful conclusion of its 7th edition, themed “The Legends Edition.” The event, organized by the Gender Commission, brought together women athletes who have represented Kenya in various international competitions, including the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. These accomplished athletes including the ones in hockey have not only brought glory and medals to the country but have also transitioned successfully into diverse careers.
The Step-Up Series, Legends Edition, provided a platform for women athletes to share their journeys, experiences, and expertise, while also focusing on important topics such as mental well-being, injury prevention, personal branding, and environmental sustainability. The event reaffirmed the commitment of NOC-K and its Gender Commission to support and empower women in the sports industry, paving the way for future generations of successful women athletes and leaders.
The seminar commenced with an opening speech by Mr. Maluki, the 1st Deputy President and CDM for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Mr. Maluki expressed his delight in initiatives like the Step-Up Series, which empower women across the sports ecosystem. He emphasized the outstanding performances of Kenyan women athletes, citing recent accomplishments by athletes like Faith Kipyegon and Hellen Obiri in breaking records and excelling in their respective disciplines.
“As the CDM for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which already is seeking a 50-50 or more women participation, I am delighted to see initiatives such as this Step-Up Series that seeks to empower women across the value-chain of sports space. As we speak, great matches are happening at the Nairobi Club Tennis Courts in the Billy Jean King Cup in Nairobi, with the likes of Angela Okutoyi doing us proud, while our Malkia Strikers, among many women’s national teams, keep shining.”
One of the esteemed speakers at the seminar was Kanyali Ilako, a former Commonwealth swimmer who has transitioned into a sports psychologist. She shared her insights and experiences on navigating the transition from being an athlete to supporting athletes in their mental and emotional well-being.
Camilyne Oyuayo, a former Olympian from the 2016 Rio Games, also graced the event, as the Team Manager of the Kenya Lioness Rugby national team and the CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Commonwealth Games, she’s transitioned so steadily. She spoke about her personal journey and the challenges and rewards of transitioning into a managerial role.
In addition, Midred Odwako, a former volleyball player, shared her story. Her achievements serve as an inspiration to aspiring leaders in the sports industry.
“I played Volleyball for 18 years and nobody ever prepared me for retirement and when it happened, I was in deep shock. I didn’t know what next, the court was all I knew. To add on, nobody took my team through injury prevention. These young athletes are so lucky to have NOC-K take them through this knowledge and skills.
During the seminar, Brenda Ayuma, an expert in injury prevention, addressed the crucial topic of preventing injuries in female athletes. She shed light on the unique considerations and strategies necessary to safeguard the well-being and performance of women athletes. Injury prevention is of utmost importance as it helps athletes maintain their physical health, sustain their careers, and achieve their full potential.
Furthermore, personal branding expert Faith Njuguna delivered a session on developing a strong personal brand for female athletes. She emphasized the importance of aligning personal values, showcasing unique skills, and standing out in the highly competitive sports world. Building a strong personal brand enables athletes to effectively communicate their stories, attract opportunities, and inspire others.The day concluded with a meaningful tree planting exercise as part of NOC-K’s sustainability program, “Olympic Forests.” This program aims to plant over 1 million trees within a four-year period, contributing to environmental conservation and sustainability efforts