Three-time weightlifting gold medalist living in poverty despite Ksh3m cash award

Evans Murutu Sokoto
Evans Murutu Sokoto. [Photo: Nation]

Evans Murutu Sokoto is a passionate Kenyan sportsman with three gold medals but he lives from hand to mouth.

Despite bagging the prestigious medals when he represented Kenya in the Kenya Amateur Weightlifting and Body Building Association (KAWBBA) during the Africa Youth Games in 2014, he is a bodaboda rider in Kitengela town.

Now 25, his gold medals are in Snatch, Clean and Jerk, 69kgs category.

When he is not riding his bike he is working as a mechanic in one of the garages in Kitengela.

In an interview with Nation Wednesday, he said that he gave up the sport because it was impossible to continue schooling. He dropped out in Standard Seven.

His family hugely depends on his earnings

“The abject poverty in our family could not let allow me to continue with my formal schooling,” he said.

His journey to weightlifting started with simple-to-make gym equipment which he used for practice as a youth champion.

Out of the endurance he had built after working with the equipment, he managed to get slot to Botswana representing Team Kenya.

With his victory, he earned Ksh1 million for each gold medal he bagged, money that he has never received since 2014.

He said that his bid to collect Ksh3 million cash award from Botswana’s victory put him at loggerheads with KAWBBA.

A bribe of Ksh56,000 was demanded by one of the senior officials processing the cheque.

“The government had promised to give us Sh1 million for each gold won. I had big dreams and plans to improve my life. That was not to be.

“My trips to the federation headquarters became regular until I was locked out despite parting with a bribe.”

With no option left, the father of one takes home between Ksh500 and Ksh600.

He still goes to a nearby gym, not too far from the garage where he works.

However, his pain is that he is seen as an idol but he has earned nothing from his effort seven years after the Botswana competition.

Daniel Otieno, a member of the federation acknowledged that corruption is ruining this sports segment in the country.