NAIROBI, Kenya, September 28- Athletics Kenya (AK) has given the government until December to release funds for next year’s Senior Africa Athletics Championships failure to which Kenya will miss hosting the event.AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said that they are running behind schedule in preparing for the biannual event whose hosting rights were awarded to Kenya two years ago.
“If nothing is moving by December, we (AK) will call off the event. We will tell the CAA (Confederation of African Athletics) to find another host,” said Kiplagat at a media briefing on Monday.
Despite the warning, Kiplagat was optimistic that the government will fulfill their pledge of supporting the championship which is now nine months away.
The championships was originally slated for April 28- May 1 but had to be postponed to July 28-August 1 due to the delay in preparations.
“When we were awarded the rights to host the championships, we were given several targets to meet like setting up a website, refurbishing the stadium and securing the stadium. Thirty million shillings is also required to run the secretariat. All that is yet to materialize,” said Kiplagat who was flanked by sports secretary Professor Wilson Langat.
The chairman also brushed aside reports that appeared in some sections of the press that the government was dithering to release the money due to misallocation of funds by AK during the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country championships in Mombasa.
“AK did not receive a cent for that event (cross country). The ministry was the one who managed the finances. Even for the upcoming championships, the money is going to be given handled by the ministry and the local organizing committee.
Kiplagat’s sentiments were echoed by the sports secretary.
“The government never at any time gave funds to AK to run the world cross country. We have those facts in my file because AK was not in charge of organizing that event,” said Langat.
So far, AK has used Sh1 million of its own money to train track officials for the championships.