By GILBERT WANDERA
National athletics team coach Julius Kirwa has said the national Olympic Committee of Kenya ( NOC-K) should take the blame for the team’s poor performance in London.
Kirwa claimed some NOC-K officials frustrated the team right from the time elite athletes insisted they would not be going to Bristol for the pre-Olympic trials.
“When NOC-K announced that officials would travel to Bristol, some elite athletes threatened to pull out of the team but I intervened. However, when we got to London it was obvious that they were not happy with our decision and set out to frustrate us.”
“My two team doctors and a coach were denied entry into the Olympic village meaning the athletes who were injured could not be attended to. This and many other frustrations took a toll on the team,” he said.
Kirwa pointed out that he has never seen such a kind of treatment before and asked Athletics Kenya and NOC-K officials to sort out their differences for better performance in future.
But NOC-K Secretary General FK Paul denied the allegations and said they never held any grudge against the team for refusing to train in Bristol.
“The doctors and coaches who were denied entry into the games village came on a day they were not expected. Also Vivian Cheruiyot’s husband who is also her personal coach did not have accreditation and so could not enter the games village,” he said.
As the team arrived back yesterday, local officials put up a spirited defence of Team Kenya at the games.
Despite a dismal showing, the team was well received with top government officials led by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.
Family members, traditional dancers and Brand Kenya team put up a befitting welcome for the team who were later treated to a sumptuous breakfast at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Team Kenya chef de mission Jonathan Koskei told off those who were criticising the team for a poor outing saying they were unrealistic.