The Star (Nairobi)

19 February 2013

Kenya: Race to Rio Is On

Naivasha — National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino yesterday said Kenya's success at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics will require concerted efforts from all sports stakeholders.

"We must put in lots of investments to achieve results this time round. Before Rio 2016, we must put our heads together in every sporting discipline if we are to produce results. Other countries have invested heavily to ensure medals are forthcoming and as a result put their countries in the world map," said Keino.

The NOCK boss underscored the need for early preparations for the Summer Games, saying sports stakeholders must also work hand in hand with the government and ensure weaknesses and strengths in the Road to the Olympics are managed professionally.

Kenya performed dismally at the last London Olympics Games, prompting President Kibaki to order for a probe. Yesterday, Dr. Keino indicated that all stakeholders must be proactive in ensuring Kenya's success at the Rio extravaganza.

"We can't do anything without the input of the government," said Keino. He said stakeholders must move into counties to identify and nurture talent. We must all look at the recently enacted Sports Act for guidance and develop sporting facilities. Unfortunately, this can not happen without the input of all stakeholders," added Keino.

Keino was speaking during the two-day "Road to Rio 2016 Symposium" which ends today at the Enashipai Resort and Spa in Naivasha. Keino also called for diversification of sports and urged others Kenyan federations to raise their bar with focus on the next Olympic Games.

Kenyan medals at the Olympics have only been achieved in athletics and boxing. The late Robert Napunyi Wangila was the first African to win boxing gold medal in welterweight during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Keino said the Road to Rio starts with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the youth Olympics, Youth Commonwealth and All African Games among others. The Symposium in Naivasha is dubbed 'Development a Sporting Strategy for Kenya ahead of Rio 2016' and was officially opened by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sports, James Waweru. Sports PS Waweru on his part said the sporting federation have no excuses following the enactment of the sports policy.

He said the Sports Act will make sports to be run more professional and associations be able to plan ahead. He said his Ministry is committed towards development of sports right from the grass-root.

An official from Foundation for Leadership through Sports Bob Reeves from Britain is also attending the seminar.Reeves in his presentation underscored matters to do with High Performance Strategy and Development Structures which he said could take Kenya's sports to the next level.

Reeves identified coaching as one of the most important aspects of sports in the world. "You can't get any good without the input of good coaching and that's why Mark Friday has been able to resurrect sevens rugby in Kenya. He is probably one of the best coaches in the world," he said.

The event is being attended by various sporting federations, the Ministry of Sports officials as well as other stakeholders. Among those in attendance were --Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chairman Sam Nyamweya, Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) chairman Waithaka Kioni and Athletic Kenya (AK) president Isaiah Kiplagat.

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