By Elias Makori.

Kenya came into the London Olympics with high hopes, everyone confident that we would surpass the performance of Beijing four years ago where Team Kenya scooped six gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

But the pre-Games tension between the National Olympic Committee of Kenya and Athletics Kenya has thrown Kenya’s campaign to the dogs.

It is sad watching our sports officials, with their bloated egos, fighting turf wars at the expense of the country’s respected name and image.

Many will wonder just how Vivian Cheruiyot, the double world champion (5,000 and 10,000 metres) faded away badly in the opening day’s 10,000m final and indeed why London Marathon champion Mary Keitany failed to get a medal in the marathon last Sunday.

Questions arise from the women’s steeplechase debacle and the fact that we have just Hellen Obiri in Wednesday’s 1,500m semi-finals or how we failed to break the 44-year jinx in the men’s 10,000m.

Well the answer to these questions is simple: Our officials have let us down terribly and they must do the honourable thing and take the long walk away from managing sport in the country. Period.

Management abandoned officials

We raised the flag when a dozen officials from Kenya’s Olympics management team literally abandoned athletes to rush to a pre-season camp in Bristol that meant little in terms of quality preparations, especially for distance runners.

We saw Ezekiel Kemboi travel to Bristol, and then flee back home due to the atrocious conditions there, where the recalcitrant NOCK officials set up camp merely to rake in their $300-a-day allowances, totally ignoring the fact that serious competition awaited the team at the Olympic Stadium.

The tab was picked by the toiling taxpayer.

There was drama as Vivian’s husband and personal coach, along with one of the team’s coaches and doctor were locked out of the Olympic Village by the NOCK team led by executive officer Stephen arap Soi and general team manager James Chacha, leaving Vivian, our red-hot medal hope, in tears.

Vivian was shattered and it was hardly surprising that she failed to pick herself up and take the battle to Tirunesh Dibaba.

This didn’t bother Soi and his team who have misused the trust bestowed upon them by NOCK chairman, our legend Kipchoge Keino, who, as a respected member of the International Olympic Committee, is playing multiple roles here, delegating the management of Team Kenya to Soi, Chacha and company.

Personal wars

Vivian’s loss on Day One should have fired a wake-up call, but rather than address the issue, Soi and company continued with their personal wars with Athletics Kenya, declaring the AK chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, persona non grata at the Olympic Village.

As the selfish turf wars continued, we lost the men’s 10,000m, where Wilson Kiprop, winner of the controversial trials in Oregon, pulled out with an injury that the Team Kenya officials knew about at the Kasarani camp but failed to address. What a shame!

AK’s decision to hold the trials in Oregon will seriously be questioned, as will Soi’s decision to lock out one of the team’s medics while knowing that some of the athletes, like steeplechaser Lydia Rotich, who is asthmatic, needed round the clock, personal medical attention.

Journalists critical of Soi and the NOCK management team have been declared unwanted guests at the Olympic Village, Soi’s team eager to sweep the management rot under the carpet as medals continue to, painfully, slip away from our grasp.

Many joyriders

The issue of joyriders in Team Kenya hasn’t been addressed, while the rather unprofessional manner in which distribution of training and competition kit has been managed here continues to irk the athletes, with some of them, like swimmers Jason and David Dunford, taking no chances and purchasing their own strip.

As things stand here, Kenyans should be prepared for the worst, unless Prime Minister Raila Odinga, here for the final days of the Games, works out wonders to lift the dying Kenyan spirit.

Unless this happens, I can only predict just three more gold medals from Pamela Jelimo (800m), David Rudisha (800m) and Wilson Kipsang (marathon).

Forget about the women’s 5,000m, men’s 5,000m or even women’s 1,500m where the gold medals belong to Tirunesh Dibaba, Dejen Gebremeskel and Fantou Magiso, all of Ethiopia, respectively.

No personalised training

Unless the Prime Minister cracks the whip, and unless we see the backs of the NOCK officials who have seriously let the athletes and the country down, we should not expect sporting glory to come any time soon.

The issue of pre-Games training, lack of focus by AK’s top management and the absence of personalised training for our athletes are issues we will tackle another day.

Meanwhile, we await the report of the Parliamentary team investigating similar mismanagement of the Kenyan team at the last All Africa Games in Maputo where the same officials are implicated. Will we ever learn?


About Eddy Kimani

Kenyan living in Nairobi, taking it a day at a time...more to follow!

Posted on August 8, 2012, in Eddy's Picks, Sports. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. Mutheu Murenga

    Really sad!!!m

  2. Good insight, never knew of the infighting. But when did Raila became a spirit lifting god?

  3. The Prime minister will always not be there to resolve such poor leadership. A comprehensive report collected from all participants and officials must be made available after every sports locally and internationally. Then we can move forward as us, otherwise I remember how the Prime minister was scolded when he brought a football coach, has our soccer team grown since then? NO.

  4. I remember in the Boston marathon an athlete was given a message,”The PM is waiting for you guys at the finish line”. Hedfrey I can’t call him a god but he is known to know what to say to sportsmen and get them uplifted just like in his speeches, not forgetting walking into Harambee Stars’ changing room to ask Mariga & Oliech to bury their hatchet for the sake of the country and the duo came back and fought for their country. I mean in this whole article, that’s what you picked???

    Anyway, guys let’s pray for our country. Athletics is all we have to be recognized around the world, mishaps happen but this is our country and they are our ambassadors. For the wrongs we’ve done I hope they’ll be rectified as soon as today because I’ll just die when the son of Rudisha makes even second position, I swear I’ll have a nervous breakdown!!!

  5. this is sad indeed but Eddy why are u claiming “Unless the Prime Minister cracks the whip” ..who said the PM is the only one who can crack the whip…in fact am sure if those bringing all this infighting declare their support for the Premiere,then he won’t intervene,he would even give them more ground to continue with their ways.

  6. I think Kenya sports leaders have perfected beating the system, you touch them and all manner of hell from federations etc comes crashing down saying sports and policitcs be seaprated. we continue reaping the fruits of the system we alone continue to stomach! Just withdraw the money and make it individual partcipation, you win we pay you, after all I have not seen an official running on the track Nktst!

  7. Totally disgusted by our officials. They have let us down…AGAIN! They all have to be fired and all their perks withdrawn from them. No allowances…secondly why are they being paid $300 per diem for London? That’s what you get in Angola! NKT! Kipchoge Keino is better of working alone than with these stooges . Let him, Paul Tergat be the only ones allowed to manage the team.

  8. Martin Musyoka

    I knew there was something burning within the team just yesterday when Kiprop finished last and i told one of my friends soo.. anyway thanks for confirming my suspicions… soo bad for the country

  9. Kitumbua wuod Obambla

    The prime minister is one of the people wasting our money in useless foreign travel. First of all, tell him to get his ass back here. A week after being listed as the No. 1 waster of public funds, he travels to London to behave like a silly little prick. I am angry now.

    The management of AK should all be shown the doow and their per diem claims should not be authorised at all.

  10. thank you Eddy for this article, we need to keep ourselves informed of how govt officials are misusing our money to mistreat our mashujaa, kwanza about vivian, am so pissed off by that one….i wonder can we start a campaign to have these guys fired cz kenyans are begining to heap the blame on the athletees

  11. All is not lost, Let’s continue to stand behind our heroes in the face of all these challenges, which are indeed legitimate concerns, but will not be addressed overnight. I believe these athletes got the character to rise above this. It’s not over till the fat lady sings

  12. A leader or a small group of leaders are only upheld by the masses they lead. We the people need to know what our power is. These officials were voted in, just like the politicians. We hold the power to vote them out or to declare no confidence in their leadership styles. Its about time we become pro active and if it means conducting anti- leaders campaigns then so be it. Its a shame when a minority determines the reputation of an entire nation!!

  13. In response to the comment above-It seems Rao has a way of firing up the Kenyan spirit we have seen him resolve conflict many atimes! The thing is AK has failed terribly and has humiliated Kenyans and have made us all broke! They need to give an explanation…when you are not able to perform your job as expected in a work environment are you not supposed to explain and show measures you have put in place to improve your performance? it is unacceptable…we need answers!!!!!! mean while the whole team stand suspended

  14. Hango on…so you are saying thr Vivian, who achieved a PB in that race, under performed?

    Aii, Kenyan journalism!

  15. No wonder Kemboi ‘Mini Bolt’ as he is commonly known nowadays left the camp without goodbye. NKT

  16. Well, thanks for letting us know how rotten the inside is. We thought something was going on when Anderson Mureta and some sprinters were dropped. Somebody is burning the midnight oil to frustrate this sport. To all athletes like me, continue working hard the work of your legs will definitely be blessed.

  17. George Njuguna

    its the high time we stop playing politics with everything that is kenya

  18. Its so shaming to see hoe medals are slipping away while the great athletes seem to be loosing interest in the events something should be done or else the dreams of man will be shattered

  19. This is sad. Thanks Eddie for letting us know,

  20. psychewambura@gmail.com

    This is intellectual dishonesty! Plagiarised material. I swear I have read exact sentences on the Daily Nation

    • Kindly have a look at the byline of the story. Author credited accordingly. This is a blog where i ALSO share content from all over!

    • Now who cares about copy-pasting when our pride as a nation is at stake! Did u by any chance get the $300 per day allowance unfairly stolen from the taxpayer? If i were u . wudn’t waste my time reading an article i’d seen already! Unless ofcourse u hv sth against EK. Cant u c the overwhelming response that proud kenyans r showing. U know better!

  21. Am really concerned about the whole issue, i remember very well when Kenya missed the gold medal in 10 000 m, I was sitting with people frm different nationalities n of course u can guess wat happened ….shame on Kenyan officials!

  22. Awesome article there .knt stop reading it over n over again

  23. these knock RETARDS hv bn there for ages.SMOKE THEM OUT NOW!!!!KABUGAS!!!!total pain!kubaff!!waste of space!

  24. Thanks EK for the insight! I think u should jus get in touch with Mohammed Ali so that he can go out there n bring us those evidences n as the law of the jungle has bn the order of the day in kenya, we’ll sent them packing. Cracking of whips is long overtaken by time, unless of course u r referring to the usual chest-thumbing that he’s used to. The goodness is the athletes unlike the footballers n other unlucky sports personalities, is theirs remains an individual effort. Whether they won or lost a medal in london does not affect their winning in a golden league 2 months from now. So the greedy, shameless officials should keep up their malicious acts n pray the athletes will stil b Kenyan citizens by 2016!!!

  25. E.Kimani,thought of you as being an objective journalist and can’t say that is gone with just one article..this is cowardly…you are not telling Kenyans the truth..For long I thought sports journalism was about facts. The world over,coaches disagree with players,media etc…the greatest club in Britain where you are,Manchester United is perfect example.
    Team Kenya has produced results and we should be supporting our team..the politics will always be there. Other than Beijing 2008,you have to go back to 1988 to get more than 2 gold medals….numbers don’t lie!!
    See past Olympics results for team Kenya:

    1968 3 Gold, 4 Silver, and 3 Bronze
    1972 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 4 bronze
    1984 1 Gold, 2 Bronze
    1988 4 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze
    1992 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze
    1996 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 3 Bronze
    2000 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze
    2004 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze
    2008 6 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze

    2012 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze (ONGOING)

    It is highly likely we will have 3rd best performance…so did Rudisha break world record because of wrangles?It is moments of crisis that call for patriotism more than times of joy!!


    • Kindly note i didn’t write this article. I just shared someones opinion. You have valid points and that’s why we have such forums to air what we feel about issues. And yes, just like you i support Team Kenya wholeheartedly and unreservedly Cheers Kiprop.

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