Yes, punish those who sabotaged Rio 2016

For starters, marathon is not your usual sprint after which you cool down with a bottle of water. Marathon, which stretches to 42.1km is the king of all sports.PHOTO: COURTESY

The sight of would-be Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge wondering where to get Team Kenya water during Sunday's final is heart breaking and elicits great anger.

For starters, marathon is not your usual sprint after which you cool down with a bottle of water. Marathon, which stretches to 42.1km is the king of all sports.

It is intended to test human endeavour to extreme limits, but not without water anyway. It is for this reason that there are water points along the race track.

The organizing body, in this case, Rio de Janeiro City and the International Olympic Committee, provides general water. However, each competing country also sets up tables on which athletes get their personal energy drinks to fire them for the grueling distance.

And do disappointingly, Team Kenya handlers could not be on hand to serve Kipchoge and when they did, they scandalously swapped the personalised drinks of Stanley Biwott and Wesley Korir.

Technically, that shameful mix-up ended Korir and Biwott's run because each of them threw up.

These incidents demonstrates what was utterly wrong with the managers of Team Kenya at the Rio 2016 Olympics and why a purge is needed, if only to redeem the sport. Certainly, these are appalling "institutional, policy and administrative failures" that must be addressed.

Thankfully, President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed swift action on those responsible for the shabby treatment of our athletes. His words: "we will ensure that lessons are learnt, questions are answered, action is taken and full accountability achieved." resonates with a weary public used to the same rhetoric and an athletics fraternity inured to mistreatment from sports officials.

This is to ensure that in future, we get it right from the selection process to the logistics. Our world-beating athletes deserve better. The mishandling of Team Kenya at the Rio 2016 Olympics should be let to follow the predictable script of angry uproar, promise of action (an inquiry perhaps) then all that is swept under the carpet.

This time, there has to be a final reckoning. Though Mr Kenyatta obfuscated on where the blame ought to fall, it lies squarely with the Ministry of Sports under Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya under chairman Kipchoge Keino and Athletics Kenya.

There is a lot to answer for including the mishandling of legislation on doping that nearly got Kenya thrown out of the Rio 2016 Olympics were it not for the swift intervention of President Kenyatta and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.

Whichever way he chooses to get to the bottom of this is welcome. By all means, the president should send a message that it is never going to be business as usual ever again.

As a start, an audit of the relationship between Team Kenya's apparel suppliers Nike and NOCK should be carried out.

Secondly, the country must be told why Carvin Nkanata, the 200m record holder's registration for Rio 2016 Olympics was bungled. The country also needs to know how Michael Rotich, who ignominiously left Rio, was named Team Kenya's manager.

In short, the probe should unearth the extent of the well-documented rot in both NOCK and Athletics Kenya.

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