Amos Abuga and Sandra Wekesa @PeopleSports11
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed is upbeat the National Olympics Committee Kenya (NOC-K) will uphold values of transparency, accountability and integrity ahead of next year’s Tokyo Games in a bid to avoid a repeat of 2016 Rio de Janeiro fiasco that painted the country’s image negatively.
In what is seen as a different approach, Amina says the ministry will constitute the steering committee for the 2020 Games immediately after next month’s African Games, drawing from past lessons.
“I will personally supervise the management of the process to ensure that logistics details are addressed seamlessly to allow athletes to only focus on the games.
NOC-K is also expected to provide monthly updates regarding the state of preparations,” Amina said on Wednesday evening during the launch of the road to Tokyo 2020 at a Nairobi hotel where NOC-K boss Paul Tergat, Mitsuhiro Kaboyashi from the Japanese Embassy in Kenya, businessman Manu Chandaria and legendary Kenyan athlete Kipchoge Keino also attended.
Amina is confident NOC-K has learnt valuable lessons that can only make the country do better compared to three years ago.
To reiterate the government’s commitment towards supporting Team Kenya for the Games, the CS says the Ministry of Sports will make sure money from the Sports Fund will be used with utmost prudence and transparency to empower the country’s sportsmen and women.
Her remarks comes at the time NOC-K settled on long-serving Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) boss Waithaka Kioni as the Chef de Mission for the summer Games.
“We are deeply grateful to the people of Japan and through the Ambassador we wish to express our gratitude for the continued friendship and cooperation.
We will work closely with the embassy as we prepare the Kenyan team for the games,” added Amina.
At the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil, Kenyan athletes complained of ill treatment before and during the games with kits meant for them ending up in the hands of officials.
The scandal led to the government launching a probe into the fiasco, resulting in the arrest and subsequent arraignment of six officials among them former Sports CS Hassan Wario and then Chef de Mission Stephen Arap Soi. The matter is still in court.
“Sports unites us and this day is a reminder of the universality of humankind and how, despite our geographical boundaries, social, economic and other differences, we all belong to one human race. We share the aspirations of peace, unity and collaboration,” said the sports boss.
In Rio, Kenya collected 13 medals, six gold, a similar number of silver and one bronze for their best ever performance in the history of the Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, Kenya Tae Kwon-Do Federation will send a team of 22 to this year’s All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Federation president Suleiman Sumba says they had already selected the team and embarked on training to ensure they bag as many medals as possible at the continental event.
“We will have representation in all the eight categories at the Games.
At the moment, the team is in Egypt taking part in an invitational event and I am certain they are picking vital lessons from their North African opponents.
They will go to residential training immediately they return to the country next week,” said Sumba