23 August 2012

Kenya: Kiplagat Distances AK From Team Kenya Results

Photo: David Ndolo/The Star
President Mwai Kibaki hands over the national flag to 2012 Olympic team captain, David Rudisha (file photo).

Nairobi — Athletics Kenya Chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat has exonerated his federation from blame for the debacle that befall Team Kenya at the recently concluded London Olympics.

The dismal performance of the Kenyan team has generated heated debate after the country failed to defend the entire medal haul won in Beijing in 2008, with the chairman coming to the defense of his athletics team who lost four titles and only retained two in the 3000m steeplechase and 800m men events.

"We have our programs tailored towards preparing our athletes to win medals at all major championships like the Olympics and will continue to do so.

"In London, there were four disciplines and only athletics managed to get the medals, it's clear that we have done well in these events that we have participated in and I think as a discipline we have not failed this country," said Kiplagat at a press briefing on Thursday.

While declining to delve into the murky details revolving the team's dull show at the event, he added they were awaiting the outcome of the report on the probe of the games as ordered by President Kibaki earlier on Tuesday this week.

"We are eagerly waiting to see the details of the report that is been prepared so that we can comment on the same but we have already presented our view as a federation on the preliminary report due this Friday

Once the central management committee concerned has released it, we will respond appropriately to any issues that have been raised concerning athletics," he asserted attempting to cool down the eager journalists at the briefing.

He however conceded the report will be an eye opener to preparations for future versions of the games and expressed optimism the recommendations will be acted upon by all the stakeholders ahead of the next edition in Rio, Brazil in 2016.

"We have had many reports prepared after major events but none of the proposals have been taken into account over the years and have instead been lying at the Ministry of Sports.

"When going to Brazil, we have 21 disciplines where we have our chance to increase our medal tally and must try to use these latest suggestions to ensure we engage other federations to make it happen," he noted on the reliance of athletics for medals at the Olympics.

Kiplagat was speaking at Riadha house during the presentation of a sh1.5m sponsorship from communications provider Safaricom for this weekend's Mombasa International Marathon scheduled for Sunday at the coastal city.

The event is part of the federation's plan to incorporate sports tourism and increase earnings for the country as they continue to engage the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) on the development.

"Its an event of great importance as it's within our plan to attract tourists that will soon include other three events set for Kisumu, Nairobi and Kericho if their organisation are up to the right standards.

"For this reason, we will carry out doping tests on all athletes participating this weekend to ensure that we keep up with the standards that have been set on the international stage," said Kiplagat on the claims of athletes not going through tests in local competitions.

The chairman at the same time announced that beginning next year all full marathons organised in the country must award the winners with a minimum of sh500,000 while the half marathon prize kitty will be set at sh250,000 in a bid to make the races lived to their billing and avoid exploitation of the participants.

Meanwhile, Safaricom sponsorships manager Wangui Kibe announced that Olympic champion and World Record Holder, David Rudisha will receive a further sh1m for his 1:40.91 record breaking effort in the London event in addition to a similar amount for clinching gold in the 800m.

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