Friday March 21 2014

Coach banned from athletics over sexual harassment claims

Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) secretary

Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) secretary general Beatrice Ayikoru (L), her assistant Apollo Musherure and president Dominic Otucet (R) have not taken any action despite reports of sexual harassment in the national team. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Sande Bashaija


The coach accused of sexually harassing national female runners has been banned from athletics activities in Kapchorwa District.
“As a district, we have decided that he is side lined from all athletics events,” Sam Cheptoris, the Kapchorwa LC5 chairman, told Daily Monitor. “We have also requested police to carry out investigations. If no quick action is taken, we are going to call for the intervention of the IGP (Inspector General of Police).”

Cheptoris and Kapchorwa DPC Patrick Odokonyero held a meeting with 46 athletes from Kapchorwa, Bukwo and other neighbouring districts yesterday. “After interacting with the runners, we realised that most of the things reported in Daily Monitor (Thursday edition), were true,” noted the former Sebei College headmaster. “There is no smoke without fire.

Some female athletes confirmed in the meeting that the coach abused them. That’s why we will not entertain him in our district events again,” offered Cheptoris, one of the individuals credited with the growth of athletics in the area. “His reputation is not good. He has done bad things before which most people he know.”

The coach, whose details we can’t reveal for legal reasons, reportedly advised junior female runners to engage in sexual behaviour and give birth in order to perform better.

Some runners, without a female coach in camp, also revealed he physically abused them whenever they turned down his sexual advances during preparations for last weekend’s Africa Cross-country Championships.
The young runners confided in team captain Moses Kipsiro, who later confronted the coach.

“We hope something will be done. We need justice,” one of the 17 female runners, who attended yesterday’s meeting said on phone. “It is disappointing that the federation (Uganda Athletics Federation) is not doing anything to help us,” she added but requested not to be named for fear of being reprimanded.

Athletics federation secretary general Beatrice Ayikoru on Monday denied knowledge of the sexual assault allegations.
“I met the athletes in Kampala and no one raised the issue in the meeting,” Ayikoru said then.