Protecting the environment is a priority for many in 2023, and athletes like it Eliud Kipchoge lead the way.
In 2020, the two-time Kenyan Olympic gold medalist and world record holder adopted 50 hectares of forest land in the Kaptagat Forest, close to where he spends most of the year training at high altitudes.
“If you train in a polluted environment, you cannot perform” marathon said the great Kipchoge BBC from his homeland.
“Kaptagat Forest has made a huge difference in my career. I’ve been here for 20 years and without this forest and being around, I don’t think I would be where I am today.”
“I realized that the only way to get good results and truly enjoy running is to train in a good place and breathe clean air.”
A year later, the great runner decided to create a foundation that would focus on education and environmental protection, including planting trees.
So far, Kipchoge has adopted 130 hectares of forest and says this is “just the beginning”.
Its broader goals include adopting a forest in every country where it would plant indigenous trees.
Creating the Olympic forest in Africa
Environmental protection is also an area of ??concern for the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In 2021, the IOC launched an initiative to cultivate 590,000 native trees in around 90 villages in Mali and Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games host nation Senegal.
The Olympic Forest is an important component of the IOC’s climate change strategy, which includes reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and reducing the impact of the organization’s footprint. With the goal of achieving a positive climate, the IOC aims to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2024 and 50 percent by 2030, and offset more than other emissions.
While planting trees will help protect the environment, the project also aims to create wider social and economic benefits for communities in Mali and Senegal that are hit hard by droughts and floods.