, NAIROBI, December 26 – President Mwai Kibaki has called on Kenya’s sports fraternity to start training early to enable the country send a strong medal-winning team to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
President Kibaki made the remarks in Mombasa on Saturday when he joined the Sports fraternity in receiving the Queen’s Baton which acts as a curtain raiser for the Commonwealth Games.
During the colourful occasion the President gave an assurance that the Government will set aside sufficient resources to enable the country’s team to prepare adequately for the championships to be held in October 2010.
“In the forthcoming Games my Government will set aside adequate resources for our team to train and participate in the competition. I, therefore, urge our sportsmen and women, coaches and other officials to start preparing early for us to send a strong medal winning team.”
The President further underscored the importance of sports in promoting unity and harmony among Kenyan communities.
He affirmed that sports assembled people from different cultural backgrounds who are endowed with varied talents to compete in a friendly atmosphere surrounded with goodwill.
President Kibaki further challenged leaders countrywide to prioritize matters concerning wananchi and to always lead from the front in efforts to resolve them.
The 19th Edition of the 2010 Commonwealth Games will be held in Delhi and the Queens Baton will be received in 71 Commonwealth member states in observance with one of the greatest traditions of the games, said the President.
He noted, “In addition, the Queen’s Baton Relays have been the curtain raiser since the Cardiff games in 1958. This has, indeed kept the commonwealth spirit alive.”
The Relay will take the baton to the homes of over one third of the world’s population and Kenya prides to be the first country in East Africa to receive it.
The President affirmed that the Queen’s Baton symbolizes the shared ideals of Commonwealth Nations and as well provides a unique opportunity for the country to share in the excitement of the international sports and cultural festivals held every four years.
The Head of State observed, “I note with appreciation that the Queen’s Baton Relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth Games. It symbolizes the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth Nations ahead of the sports and cultural festival held every four years.
The President said, “In the last edition of the Melbourne, Australia, Commonwealth Games, our country scooped a total of 18 medals of which 6 were Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze, finishing 9th overall. This was indeed a great achievement.”
Speaking during the same occasion the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Prof Helen Sambili confirmed that the government targets to send a strong team of about 200 sportsmen and women as well as officials to enable the country have representation in all disciplines.