By Prudence Minayo
Grandeur and prosperity is what many would expect from record breaking athletes. In fact, hundreds of athletes train everyday with the hope of representing the country on the big stage à la Eliud Kipchoge. Some of these athletes who fulfil this dream end up making good money which they invest in different sectors of the economy. However, not all are fortunate. The emotional story of Delilah Asiago made headlines in 2021 after being aired on Citizen TV. The long distance runner’s rise to the top was as spectacular as her fall. She lives in penury after making millions in her career as an athlete.
Citizen TV Interview
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When a Citizen TV reporter caught up with the retired athlete in her Cherangany home, she could barely make ends meet. She lived in dilapidated conditions and was forced to pick tea just to get by. Her house was not a mansion but rather a simple structure with very basic things. Born in 1972, the mother of two, seemed to have aged beyond her years as she recounted how she was also once attacked by robbers in her home.
All that was left to show for her former glory were medals, a car she ordered from Holland which was rusting away and newspaper articles about her glorious days.
Delilah began taking part in Athletics competition in 1991 after representing Kenya in the African 10,000m marathon. She went on to become successful in the tracks and got the chance to travel across different countries including, United States, Holland and Japan. She even stayed in Japan for three years where she took part in a number of competitions.
In 1995, she came 2nd in the All Africa Games held in Harare, Zimbabwe. The same year, Running Times awarded her The Road Racer of the Year.
In 1999, the award winning athlete was banned for two years over doping allegations. On her part, Delilah says she only took medication after falling ill. Apart from that, she took no strength enhancing or muscle drugs.
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This momentary setback did not bring her down. She went home, had her last born child and began preparing for her comeback.
In 2002, she took part in the Great Lake marathons and Nairobi marathon the following year. In 2004, she participated in the Rotterdam marathons and in 2006 went on to win the Dubai marathon.
Delilah Asiago said she used her race earnings to buy plots in several places and even bought one for her parents who live in Molo. However, she didn’t explain whether the plots are still there or if they are long gone.
It fills her with sadness to remember the money she once had. She encouraged other athletes to invest wisely so they don’t end up like her.
“To all athletes, please try and save part of the money you get after winning the events. Do not try and misuse the money otherwise you may end up in an unfortunate situation picking tea at a farm,” she advised athletes.
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