NAIROBI Kenya March 30- With the London Summer Games almost here, the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) is laying down plans to have more sporting disciplines represent the country at the next edition in Rio de Janeiro.
Speaking on Friday when the local Olympics body launched the Kimbia Card caravan in an initiative that will raise the Sh100m ($1.219m) deficit the committee is seeking for the London event, Nock chair, Kipchoge Keino stressed;
“We want to prepare even more teams, since we will now have golf and rugby participating in the next Olympics and this is the time to start building strong teams.”
“This Kimbia card will go a long way in assisting us take our youth to London,” Kieno added.
The debit card will enable its holders obtain goods and services at special discounts at selected partners drawn from various outlets including Nakumatt Supermarket chains, Nairobi Sports House, Ashley’s Hair and Beauty Academy, Jet Link Airlines among others.
The caravan will traverse all major towns in the country to popularize the initiative.
“I urge all Kenyans to show patriotism, support our team to the biggest sporting event, and give us the chance to be proud of their achievement as they shine on the world stage,” urged Kieno, a former two-time Olympics Gold medallist during his heydays.
Speaking at the event Nakumatt Holdings, Human Resources and Development Manager Francis Kimotho was optimistic that the target amount could be achieved before the team departs for London.
“With over 100,000 Kenyans doing their shopping at our branches countrywide on a daily basis, if only a fraction of them bought this loyalty card each day, we would easily finance the Olympics team budget within the time limit,” stressed Kimotho.
The card can also be purchased online and will be delivered at the door step of the applicant through their website, www.kimbiacard.com. The card validity will last till end of the year.
Nock will receive Sh200m ($2.439m) from the Government to finance the team that is expected to be assembled by July.
The Kenyan athletics team where most medal hopes lie is currently training at the High Performance Training Centre in Eldoret ahead of the national trials to pick the line-up to represent the country in London.
In 2008 Kenya’s squad of 48 participants drawn from track and field, boxing, rowing, swimming and taekwondo registered the best ever performance in Kenya’s history at the Beijing Olympics games as they clinched 14 medals – six gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
There were however some memorable moments, when Kenyan swimmer Jason Dunford held the Olympic 100 meters butterfly record that he shattered on the way to making it to the semi finals at the Beijing’s National Aquatic Center overshadowing American swimming sensation Michael Phelps for seven glorious minutes.
The Olympics contingent is scheduled to depart the country on July 1 but some track event athletes like the relays, sprints, javelin and high jump will travel to Bristol for some higher performance training before connecting to the Olympics village.