MONEY RELEASED: Government to finally give ‘Club’ Games team cash
By JONATHAN KOMEN
| July 16th 2014
|Commonwealth Games Team Kenya captain Ezekiel Kemboi receives the flag from Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario (left) at Kasarani Stadium on July 8. [PHOTO: DENNIS OKEYO]|
The Government has bowed to pressure from athletes on international allowances for the 20th Commonwealth Games that run in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 to August 3.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Sports disbursed the monies to the Sports Stadia Management Board to be released to the 195 athletes heading to the ‘Club’ Games. National Olympic Committee (NOC-K) cannot handle money on behalf of the Government.
Boxers and athletes, who left last night for Glasgow via Amsterdam, threatened to boycott the competition if they would not be paid their dues, amounting to $250 (Sh22,000) per day for 24 days, which totals Sh528,000 per athlete.
Pius Ochieng’, the Team Kenya General Manager, confirmed that the ministry had sent the money to the camp.
“At last, it has reduced the pressure on us. We can now concentrate and maintain our focus on a good show in Glasgow. We hope all will be well with the athletes, who were worried,” said Ochieng’.
“They will receive the money today (yesterday) or tomorrow. Only formalities remain,” he added.
NOC-K met the local allowances for the team which amounted to Sh21,000 per athlete while the Government was to meet the international allowances.
Olympian javelin thrower Julius Yego, who is the athletics team captain, said they were compiling the list for payment.
“All is well for now since we have been assured that the payment is being processed at the SSMB,” said Yego.
“We have already submitted the list of names since athletes wanted the allowances remitted in cash,” he added.
The athletes’ boycott threat drew mixed reactions from far and wide, with the Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (Paak) asking the Government to uphold the dignity of athletes.
Jacob Yator, the Paak Nairobi branch chairman, said the welfare of the athletes had been overlooked.
“We are surprised that the national team kit has not arrived. We don’t want a repeat of what happened during the London Olympics,” said Yator.
The first batch of the team arrived in Glasgow on Sunday. Peter Angwenyi, the team Kenya media liaison, told FeverPitch from Glasgow that Kenya is the talk of the Games.
“More than 40 Kenyan athletes and officials have arrived. They were given a warm reception by the people of Glasgow city, who have coloured the Games village with thousands of volunteers.
“The games village will accommodate 6,500. The team was received in the village by the advance party of the Kenyan officials who were led by the Chef de Mission Stephen arap Soi. The Games will start on July 23.
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