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Mercy Cherono: Why I visited TB Joshua’s church

Celebrated Kenyan athlete Mercy Cherono has finally opened up about a recent visit to Nigeria where she was captured on video telling the congregation about the challenges in her four-month-old marriage and injuries.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Nation’s Lifestyle magazine, the 5,000m Commonwealth Games champion said travelling to Nigeria for prayers was nothing out of the ordinary insisting that she doesn’t regret it.

Cherono also clarified that contrary to reports in a section of the media, she and her husband, Edmond Ngetich,
only spent Sh225,000 and not millions of shillings on the West African trip to be prayed for by famous Nigerian Preacher T.B Joshua.

The athlete also admitted, for the first time, that apart from seeking a permanent solution to her niggling injuries, the Lagos trip was also meant to seek solutions to her marital problems.

“I went there to seek spiritual uplifting. And when you are in church you pray for everything. What came to my mid immediately I was there was my career and marriage. I wanted God to help me know the source of my injuries,” she said.


“People who are saying I was desperate to have my marriage fixed because it was going down. It is not true. We are okay apart from the normal issues people face in any relationship.”

She explained that persistent injuries before major races, including last year’s Olympic Games, were stressing her and she had opted to look for help.

At the Rio Olympic Games, Cherono finished  fourth in the 5,000 metres in Rio behind her compatriots — gold medalist Vivian Cheruiyot, Hellen Obiri — and Ethiopian Almaz Ayana.

“It is so stressing when you have trained for a major race and a few days to the event you get an injury and you miss out or perform poorly. There is nothing more stressful than that. I do not believe in witchcraft so the only place I could seek spiritual assistance was in a church,” Cherono said during the interview with Lifestyle.

Cherono’s visit to Nigeria sparked off a vibrant debate after a YouTube video showing her being prayed for and later giving testimony at Prophet TB Joshua’s church went viral.

While some fans wished her well, others remained sceptical and expressed concern about her well-being.