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NOCK, Sports ministry in blame game over Rio mess

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NOCK Secretary General FK Paul (second from left) attended the press conference by Sports CS Hassan Wario. PHOTO/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NOCK Secretary General FK Paul (second from left) attended the press conference by Sports CS Hassan Wario. PHOTO/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NAIROBI, KENYA, Aug 25- The final day for Kenyan athletes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Thursday culminated in distress, bringing to an end what has been one of the biggest embarrassments for Team Kenya in the modern Olympic era.

In a series of tweets, marathoner Wesley Korir, also the Cherangany Member of Parliament showed the deplorable conditions the athletes put up in after the Olympic village was closed down on the morning of Wednesday, August 24.

The athletes were forced to put up in a crime prone Rio suburb with Korir tweeting; “There have been gun shots all night, messages being sent to athletes to stay indoors.”

Put to task to explain why the athletes were put up in such deplorable conditions, National Olympic Committee of Kenya Secretary General FK Paul said it was not the duty of NOCK to organize for the accommodation of the athletes after the village was closed but that of the Sports Ministry.

“The athletes were set to leave after the games and the only flight available was 25th, a day after the village was closed. We informed them of that early enough and it is their duty to cater for the accommodation of the athletes. Even the ministry Chief Financial Officer was there,” FK Paul said.

But the statement was in contrast to Wario’s who talked of the mess just before he began his press briefing on Thursday afternoon, while refusing to take questions and boastfully walking away from dazed journalists at his Kencom House office in Nairobi.

“The Olympics charter gives NOCK the following powers: Provide for equipment, transport and accommodation of members of delegation. They have the sole and exclusive authority to prescribe and determine the uniform and equipment to be used. I am just raising the issue that they are responsible for everything. It is important for Kenyans to know that this is NOCK’s issue,” Wario said.

“The charter laid it out clearly who’s in charge. In Kenya, NOCK was assisted by a steering committee as is the norm made up of people from different sports fraternities and chaired by PS Richard Ekai,” Wario noted.

FK Paul went on to refute that NOCK mismanaged the games and caused the mess the team found itself in, touching on allegations that athletes missed kits even as Wario disclosed he met with top Nike managers over the allegations, alongside Deputy President William Ruto.

“We have not made our report as NOCK and we will answer all these questions once we do. I will be the one responsible for making the report on the kits and we will outline how many kits we got and who got what. It is not true athletes missed kits,” the NOCK Secretary General claimed.

This though is contrary to allegations by the athletes led by Team Kenya Captain Korir that they weren’t given kits as was provided for by the official kit sponsors—Nike.

On the issue of joy riders to Rio, Wario said he had received a list of 177 people who travelled as Team Kenya and will be waiting on the Chief de Mission Stephen Arap Soi to demystify from the list who went as who.

FK Paul while responding to allegations of joy riders, himself having been accused of taking his son along said no one travelled without anything to do. He said he was entitled to an extra person on his travel and added he paid for everything for his son ranging from accommodation and match day tickets.

“I have not seen the list but I hope it contains names of people who travelled and roles they played. Everybody who goes to the games must have a role,” he noted.

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