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Kenya’s Olympic Committee Comes Under Domestic Fire For Hiccups at the Rio

After what proved to be a near pre-Olympic disaster, Kenya plans to make a strategic change in the management of its athletes to avoid future scandals.

A request has been done to investigate the way Team Kenya’s athletes were managed ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics by the Members of the National Assembly, Kenya.

The pressure has so far led to the disbandment of the National Olympics Committee of Kenya redirecting the committee’s role to Sports Kenya.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I am with immediate effect transferring NOCK’s responsibilities to Sports Kenya on an interim basis,”[/perfectpullquote]

said Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.

Under scrutiny Wario whose position has been questioned following numerous discussions and complaints on social media via the hashtag #WarioMustgo, did not, however, associate himself with the problems facing the athletes’ camp.

Wario instead explained, “NOCK (and not the Government) organizes the Olympics. Its officials are in charge of equipment, transport, accommodation and have the sole exclusive authority over everything including the color of uniform.”

Kenya has come under fire over the lack of proper care of its athletes who despite a disruptive beginning, managed to excel in Rio and finish as the best African country on the medal table standings.

Former Boston and New York Marathon winner, Ibrahim Hussein also voiced his opinion on the matter. Working with the IAAF as one of the regional development officers, Hussein told Capital Sport, “I was supposed to be accredited, but I didn’t get my accreditation, and I was forced to buy tickets everyday. Athletes also had a problem flying there, even in the camps there were a lot of problems.”

Julius Yego, a Kenyan Olympic hero also known as ‘Mr. YouTube man,’ was a near victim of Kenya’s faulty sports system. In his beginnings, Yego was left to his own devices to gain international recognition which eventually earned him an IAAF scholarship to Finland’s javelin school.

Nevertheless, Yego nearly missed the Rio Olympics where he won Kenya’s first javelin medal despite suffering an injury before the final throw. The remarkable field athlete had to earn the silver medal for the most part, without his coach Joseph Mosonik who lacked accreditation to allow him access to the village. Speaking to Capital Sport, a distraught Yego said, “I didn’t have my coach for the training field. Again, it is after I complained that everything was sorted out, and he had accreditation. It was really bad because how can a coach lack accreditation?”

On the bright side, Kenya’s Rio Olympics performance in the midst of some setbacks has not gone without applaud. United States Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Kenya’s feat and praised her for successfully achieving a first ever-gold medal in the Women and Men’s marathon races.

“As a senator representing Massachusetts for 20 years and ran in the Boston Marathon years ago, I cannot tell you how much I admire runners from Kenya. It’s quite an extraordinary record,” Kerry said during a news conference in Nairobi.

This follows the US Secretary of State’s invitation to President Uhuru Kenyatta, requesting the Kenyan president to give him running tips.


Featured Photo: Members of the Kenyan Delegation at the Opening Ceremony (Photo Courtesy: Leon Neal/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images)

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