LOOKING BEYOND ATHLETICS: Keino urges Kenyan teams to widen scope ahead of next year’s Olympics Games in Rio
ATHLETICS By Chris Musumba | June 21st 2015
National Olympic Committee of Kenya chair Kipchoge Keino said Kenya will seek to widen its medal scope beyond track and field at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Keino, himself a double Olympic gold medal winner, was speaking in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he had a week-long inspection tour on the facilities and to see how far the games’ preparation have gone.
The Rio games organising committee confirmed on its website www.rio2016.org that Keino visited the 2016 Organising Committee to get a feel of the host city and see for himself how things are shaping up ahead of the games.
“I am very impressed with the preparations for Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am very proud to see how everything is progressing. The upcoming Games are very important for the Olympic movement, and I’m sure all the countries will be united in Rio de Janeiro,” said Keino.
The Nock boss took part in meetings and site visits across all four of the Rio 2016 venue zones.
Kenya remains one of the best countries in track and field in the Olympics’ core sport and will seek to firm its grip, especially in middle and long distance races in next year’s game.
However, Keino said they are doing everything possible to have other disciplines do well in Rio.
“As always, we will do our best in athletics. It is a sport in which we can parade our talent to the world. But we also want to perform to the best of our abilities in all sports, which is why we are here in Rio — to get a feel of the conditions under which we will compete, analyse the programme and understand the infrastructure — things like local transport and the entire organisation of the Games,” he said.
The Nock boss was pleased with the Rio preparations and confirmed his excitement about the next edition of the world’s biggest sporting event.
“I think the games will be wonderful. People from around the globe will be watching, and everyone wants to see the world’s best athletes in action. I believe the Rio 2016 Organising Committee will put up the best edition of the Games that the Olympic movement has ever seen,” he said.
Keino is a member of the Laureus Academy (the organisation which distributes the Laureus Prize — known as the “Oscars of sport”), and he has two Olympic titles under his belt.
He won his last Olympic gold in the 3,000m steeplechase in Munich in 1972, and the first in the 1,500m at the Mexico City Games in 1968 — the year he arrived at the stadium well warmed-up, after he walked for more than 1.5 kilometres after the bus he was in, got stuck in traffic.
In addition to his gold medal wins, he also won two Olympic silvers — in the 5,000m at the 1968 Mexico City Games and in the 1,500m at Munich 1972.
Keino’s four Olympic medals contribute to a total 86 Olympic medals that Kenya has won in the Olympics so far since its debut in 1956. Of the total, 79 are for athletics — all in long-distance events. Kenya’s other seven medals are from boxing.
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