BEIJING, August 8 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka arrived in Beijing, China to boost the morale of Kenyan Olympians as the country’s delegation of 170 prepared to attend the opening of the Games Friday.
The two and a half week event will feature a total of 11,000 athletes from 205 countries who will be competing in more than 300 events.
By far the most successful Olympic sport for Kenya has been athletics, with track contestants winning 54 of the nation’s total 61 medals.
They perform best in the 3,000m steeplechase and Kenyan runners have won the last six Olympic titles, taking silver in the last five Games.
Kenya begins its search for gold Saturday in swimming, boxing and rowing.
Meanwhile, United Nations boss Ban Ki Moon called on the world’s leaders to uphold the true Olympic spirit of peace, prosperity and human dignity.
In a statement, the Secretary General said leaders should respect the Olympic Truce, which calls for a ‘worldwide cessation of all hostilities for the duration of the Games.’
Ban said: “These same ideals underpin the United Nations Charter and its aspirations to promote human welfare, safeguard human rights and enhance global understanding and cooperation.”
He said the Olympic Games celebrate the human spirit ‘bringing together athletes from myriad backgrounds, cultures and every nationality in a common endeavour to excel.’
But the Secretary General said the true excellence of the Games rests in their ability to unite humanity around universal aspirations: equality, fair play, sportsmanship, tolerance and, above all, peace.
All these values were encouraged despite the Olympic host’s China’s blotted rights record which remained under scrutiny ahead of the official lighting of the Olympic torch.