Kenyans from all walks of life are finding it hard to swallow the bitter truth that former Kenyan boxing sensation Conjestina Achieng' is living in abject poverty, despite being one of the best boxers Kenya ever had.
Heartbreaking photo of Conjestina Achieng goes viral, elicits reactions
Conje's photo has gone viral on social media with concerns being raised over her health
On Monday, a heartbreaking photo of the former award-winning boxer surfaced online and it touched the raw nerves of many Kenyans.
Many who shared and commented on the viral picture expressed concerns over Conjestina’s mental and general health – asking authorities and well-wishes to come to her rescue.
Looking at the photo it is evident that the former boxer has been going through a lot with her health and deteriorating every day.
This is the first time Achieng’s photo is surfacing online after it was reported that she burned down her home in Siaya County back in 2021.
The boxer has been struggling with mental health since she retired from boxing. Her career came to a sudden end after suffering from depression and the arson was said to be an expression of her frustrations and stress.
She has been in and out of various facilities with the latest being at the Mediva Wellness Centre in Thika.
Conje was admitted at the rehabilitation Centre in September 2020 after the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) offered to assist the former boxing champion.
"As a role model to many and upcoming boxers Conjestina’s good health is important so that she can continue mentoring young boxers,” said NACADA Chief Executive Officer Victor Okioma at that particular time.
On November 2nd 2018, Sonko airlifted an ailing Conjestina Achieng from Kisumu to Nairobi for rehabilitation purposes and medical attention, promising to give her a job once she concluded treatment.
The boxer was treated and was believed to have fully recovered but the circumstances under which she left the rehabilitation centre still remain unexplained.
In July 2020, sports journalist Carol Radull visited Conjestina at their family home - reporting that she had lost a lot of weight but physically she was still strong.
“A few days ago Flo Radull and I visited Conjestina Achieng at her family home in Yala. She has been top of my mind since Covid struck since so many sports people are struggling (more than usual) at this time. She has lost a lot of weight but physically she is still strong.
"She is, however, very angry at what she feels is a system that abandoned her at her time of need. She repeatedly said how she was on top of the world, represented Kenya but felt a lack of recognition. In her humble hut; what struck me most was a shrine she had put up for silverware - shields and belts; her only reminder of what she used to mean to the country,” Radull reported a post online.
Conjesina’s woes started back in 2012. She was admitted to hospital and had pending bills exceeding the Sh500,000 mark.
After a plea went out, the public managed to raise over Sh700,000 to clear her bills and help her during her recuperating period.
A couple of months later, Conjestina was back in the news in need of help. It has since become a cycle and at various points, private individuals and organizations have chipped in.