Controversy has rocked distribution of kits to the Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Nike registering disappointment with the manner the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) handled the issue.
Nike appeared outraged by the kits distribution after reports emerged that some officials steal and sell the kit to markets in town.
Mr Robert Lotwis, a Nike executive, wrote to Nock: “Dear FK (Francis Paul, the Nock Secretary General). I have not heard back from you around any of the product issues I have emailed you about. I have sent you a list of product that was sent and you received.
“I don’t understand why I have athletes both here (in Rio) and back in Nairobi saying they did not receive the products. I’m asking again for an explanation. I’ve also listed what each track (athletics) athlete should receive in a pack. I’ve also relisted below what was sent to Nock. Please respond with an explanation on why athletes are saying they are not getting all the products they should.”
The Nike queries paint a grim picture on the dubious tradition of kits stealing perfected over the years.
In an invoice mailed to Nock, which is in our possession, Nike shipped a huge consignment of kits to Kenya, which confirms claims raised by Mr Korir. For example, they sent 450 bags but very few were distributed to athletes.
Nike labelled a clear distribution order of the consignment on what each athlete would receive.
Each men’s track athlete would receive two singlets, one unitard (sprinters only, three tailwind tee, three socks, two cargo shorts, one stadium jacket, one flat brim cap, two warm up tee, two warm up tight, two woven jackets, two, one drift cotton tee, one feather light cap, one roller bag (suitcase), one vapor back packs, one gym sack, two half tight and one tailwind cap.
Their women counterparts were to receive a singlet, two airbornes, two boy shorts, a race short, a brief, a knit jacket, a rain jacket, a rain pant, three Oly miler tees, tournament short, stadium short, three socks, two LS half zip, two warm up tights, two capris, two warm up tees, two woven jackets, two Oly polos, two bras, two polo II, one LS legend tee, one feather light cap, two half tights, a tailwind cap, a gym sack, a vapor back pack and a large roller (suitcase).
Unfortunately, athletes seemed to have received little from these facilities, raising questions on the magnitude of kit theft ahead of the games.
Mr Wesley Korir, the team captain and MP for Cherangany, blamed Nock for the stand-off. “It’s unfortunate that the uniform I received does not fit me. The shorts I have are too big. And this is an issue all athletes are now facing.
“What we were given is not even a quarter of the consignment that was sent to Kenya. We were shocked and still question why we are being mistreated.
“For example, every athlete should have Nike sandals. None of the athletes have. I asked Nike this and they confirmed they sent. They even said that every athlete should have eight pairs of T-shirts,” said Mr Korir, who will compete in marathon tomorrow at 3:30pm Kenyan time. Mr Korir said they had demanded an explanation from Nike on the matter. “I have had a meeting with the big boss,” he said in a text message from Rio. Korir said: “It is sad that when you ask Nock about all these, they say they spent more than Sh12m in clearing the consignment at the port. If you combine all the kit we received; it’s not even amounting to Sh1m. And that tells you that a lot of questions have to ask.
“Nike must give us the invoices and other documents so that we can compare with what we received. I have challenged them and told to do so to change the trend,” he said.
Korir said they plan to have a meeting between all athletes and Nike management in Rio to iron out the problems.
“We have planned to meet them in Rio. In fact I have approached Ezekiel Kemboi (the 3,000m steeplechase champion) and represented from other sports disciplines about the meeting.