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No explanation can make up for Games debacle

By - | Published Tue, August 14th 2012 at 00:00, Updated August 13th 2012 at 20:44 GMT +3

As Team Kenya jets back tomorrow from the 30th Olympiad in London more whips than the usual mursik will be expected to greet them at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Such is the anger among Kenyans that few will be willing to receive our heroes and heroines with fanfare after only managing a paltry two Gold, three Silver and four Bronze medals while we are supposed to have swept all before us on the track.

Truth be told, this might not be our worst Olympics outing compared to the 2004 Games in Athens where we managed only one gold, four silver and two bronze, medals. The thinking, however, is the team to London 2012 was supposed to be the best we have ever dispatched to the Olympics.

This was a team that paraded the best marathoners that the world has witnessed in this era what with the best times they have clocked in city marathons across the world.

The runners were also no amateurs as the likes of Pamela Jelimo, David Rudisha, Wilson Kirop, Asbel Kiprop, Moses Masai, and Nixon Chepseba all went to the Games having recorded the best times of the year at the Diamond League circuit.

But then what actually went wrong in London that were it not for Rudisha and Ezekiel Kemboi Kenya would be exiting London without a single gold while we are supposed to be the kings of the middle and long distance tracks?

We are supposed to be beating the likes of USA, Russia and even Ethiopia when it comes to the number of medals won on the track but a quick glance at the medals table shows US and Russia overlapped Kenya’s tally several times over.

As if that is not enough we have a legend of the Olympics in Kipchoge Keino who was leading Team Kenya as chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and with him at the helm who would have expect the chaos we had in London. In the same delegation was Sports Minister Paul Otuoma who stayed in London for the duration of the Olympics, but did these two gentlemen do enough to ensure we didn’t have the chaos witness in London?

How can they explain to us the law of the jungle Team Kenya CEO Stephen Soi arrogated himself while dealing with Team Kenya members? Most athletes seem to point an accusing finger at the NOC-K official ranging from arrogance to hoarding of kit meant for the athletes.

And what explanation can the officials give as to why the Dunford brothers (Jason and David) didn’t have the right headgear as they splashed into their events?

Gold drought

If Nike, which is also kitting USA, had provided the necessary kit for Team Kenya, then why did Michael Phelps have better kit as compared to our own? Did the Dunfords opt to use a different kit from the one provided by Nike or had the officials not kitted the swimmers?

What about the marathoners? Mary Keitany is reported to have complained about her lack of running shoes and even had to look for her own pair in London before she took part in the race.

While Kenyans will want to point an accusing finger at the athletes, it seems the officials, right from the minister, NOC-K officials and even Athletics Kenya have some explaining to do. The issue of whether to train in Bristol City cannot just be waved away as that trip also generated more questions than answers ahead of the Games.

If indeed the officials were sincere about better training for the team then why were they falling over each other booking tickets to Bristol while over 35 athletes were left to their own devices in Nairobi with only the coach?

The minister should be telling us he has taken action against the officials — mainly from his ministry who are reported to have been accredited as doctors and physios just to get hefty allowances while the people who matter, the coaches and doctors were thrown out of the Games village.

He should not be telling us how he espied Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang exchange smiles with eventual marathon gold winner Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich as they raced on Sunday, rather, what his ministry will do after our poor showing and uncharacteristic “gold drought”.




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