BY JONATHAN KOMEN
- - 17th Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT +0300
Athletics Kenya voters were shocked to learn a court had stopped county elections.
A court order issued by Nairobi Resident Magistrate Charity Kipkorir at the Milimani Law Courts, temporarily stopped AK from holding its elections at counties in an application by one Flair Kioko from Eastern.
Kioko, through Mutisya Ngala and Company Advocates, served AK headquarters with the court order on Monday evening.
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It listed AK as the first defendant while AK President Isaiah Kiplagat as the second defendant in his application.
Yesterday, AK voters, who had converged at several polling centres across the country, had to come to terms with the court directive.
Nairobi branch AK chairman Barnaba Korir said the legal stalemate is likely to interfere athletes’ programmes and asked for a speedy solution to the matter.
“If you bring disputes in athletics, you will interfere with athletes’ preparations for major international competitions. We (AK) have initiated structures, including a new constitution, that develops athletics in the country,” said Korir.
He said the Government had done little to develop local athletics and, despite this, the sport has kept running the shows at global stage.
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“The only time you see a Government official concerned with athletics is when athletes win medals at major championships. They are the first ones at the airport to welcome them back home not knowing the challenges these undergo to become world beaters,” he said.
He lamented that unlike in other countries the Government does not include coaches in their reward schemes yet they are keen to interfere with elections.
“If they destabilise the administration, it will affect the organisational issues of athletes. We know what athletes need, and the elections should be done early enough to allow coaches, who are also contestants, to run their usual programmes,” said Korir, a former international athlete.
Korir questioned why sports policy was used to punish people who have drastically transformed local athletics.
“Athletics is perhaps the only sport in Kenya to attract international sponsorship. This is partly because it delivers to the sportswear firms and add value to them,” he said.
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While addressing a press conference on Sunday, AK president Isaiah Kiplagat said he could not rule out suspicion of infighting within the federation ahead of the polls.
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