ATHLETICS Kenya (AK) chairman Isaiah Kiplagat has rejected assertions by National Olympic Committee of Kenya chairman Kipchoge Keino that they have struck a deal to have some of the athletes train in Bristol
Kiplagat said he has been opposed to the Bristol Camp deal from the onset and nothing will make him change his mind. " I am on record as having rejected this camp during a steering committee meeting chaired by Ministry of Sports Permanent secretary James Waweru and attended by Kipchoge, NOC-K assistant treasurer Stephen Soi, chef de mission Jonathan Koskei, AK secretary general David Okeyo, treasurer Joseph Kinyua and sports secretary Wilson Lagat," said Kiplagat.
He said they only told NOCK to consult coaches and need be negotiate with the 800m runners. " But there was no agreement at all and the status quo remains."
However, AK boss said they have handed the team to NOCK and the Kenya government and it is up to them if they want to destroy it by taking it to Bristol. "I still insist Bristol is a bad decision but it's up to government and NOCK if they want to mess the team," he added. Kiplagat wondered why NOCK have continued to insist on Bristol camp yet the costs involved are too prohibitive. "Why should we take the team to Bristol and still cater for accommodation and food at a very high rate," he asked.
Besides, he said the country would still have to pay Sh3.5 for the physiotherapists and Sh3.9m for the psychiatrist. "Why can't we bring the physiotherapists and psychiatrists here instead of sending the team. In any case why do we need them when we have so many around," he added. Kiplagat said Bristol being on a low altitude will be counter productive to the runners considering most of them have trained at high altitude. The AK boss said if Bristol really want to help Kenya, they should bring some of the facilities down here.
Kipchoge had claimed that they have agreed with AK over the Bristol Camp deal. He said the two parties had agreed that middle distance runners and field event athletes honour Bristol Camp. Kipchoge said the partnership between NOCK and Bristol University was signed in 2006 as part of an exchange programme, where the university helps promote sports in 22 schools in various parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Olympics 800m champion Pamela Jelimo's coach Barnabas Korir is adamant that his athlete will not be part of Bristol team. " She is not going anywhere else other than the Olympics Games in London," he said. Korir described the move by NOC-K as interference that should be resisted by AK and all athletes. He said stakeholders in athletics need to be consulted before such decisions are made.