8 February 2017

Kenya: Central Athletes Threaten to Boycott Cross Country

Athletes from Central Region have threatened to boycott the regional cross country competition this weekend if Nyeri's Athletics Kenya branch field a team.

They argue that Nyeri County failed to hold their county championship to select a team for the regional meet and should, therefore, not be allowed to compete.

The warning came after the runners learnt that the branch intends to make up a Nyeri team to the regional competition this weekend at the Makuyu Golf Course in Murang'a County. Athletics Kenya's Nyeri sub-branch chairman Mutahi Kahiga told the Daily Nation Sport that making a county team to compete on Saturday is one of those options that is being deliberated by his office.

"We can make a team but the challenge is finances to ferry the athletes to Murang'a. But if we come up with one, I can fund it from my pocket," said Mutahi. But Mutahi did not disclose the criteria of the selection of the county team, saying his office would meet "in course of the week" to map the way forward.

The protesting runners from Nyeri competed in the Murang'a County championships two weeks ago and qualified for the regional meeting as part of the Murang'a team.

Nyeri county failed to host its championships for lack of Sh34,800 out of a budget of Sh50,000, prompting local runners to go to Murang'a where they dominated.

Speaking at Ruring'u Stadium in Nyeri after a speed work session on Wednesday, 10-kilometre runner Julius Maina said it would be unfair for the branch to make a team that did not participate in qualifiers to face those who toiled to make it to the regional meeting.

"There is a reason why AK has set the build-up competitions. It would be unfair to be edged out at a level by someone who was not supposed to be there in the first place," said Maina.

Two-time Mombasa Marathon champion Paul Maina called for dialogue between the AK sub-branch officials and the county sports office to avoid future embarrassment. He warned Nyeri AK office against "importing" runners and fielding them in the regional meeting saying that the competition will lack the true element of local talent.

"Athletics integrity should be seen in all levels of competitions in a bid to bring out the best in the regions and we hope to see that fairness in Murang'a," he said.Meanwhile, Nyandarua AK chairman Francis Kamau has said that his 28-member team is all ready to conquer at the regional event.

Kenya

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