ELDORET, Kenya, June 2- In a powerful demonstration sports cuts across all divides, International Olympics Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, defied a travel advisory against Kenya to make a heroic visit to Kipkeino High School in Eldoret on Sunday.
Amid tight security, the Olympics boss spent four hours being garlanded, celebrated and entertained as he opened a classroom and multipurpose hall at the institution founded by IOC honorary life Committee Member and Kenyan legend, Dr. Kipchoge Keino.
And the enthusiastic students were not left empty handed as Bach promised his body would aid in providing water, solar technology for electricity and the goodie that resounded the most, a new school bus.
“We take this school as a serious project and I will return here hopefully soon to see how far the progress has gone. It is a shining example of how sport can be used to develop the youth as an educational facility started by one of the greatest stars of the Olympics movement,” the German national said.
He flew in from Gaborone, Botswana in his private jet from the Africa Youth Championships that concluded and landed at Eldoret International Airport shortly after 3:30pm local time (+3GMT).
In a snaking convoy that included Olympic champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, Bach was driven to inspect the ongoing works at the Kipkeino Stadium in Eldoret where the tarmac is being laid before the tartan.
“We will see what we can do to make the rest of the facility become world class,” he noted as he was driven to the school where fanfare greeted him.
He then left for Addis Ababa to conclude his whistle stop African tour, the first since he was elected to head the IOC last year, succeeding Belgian Jacques Rogge.
“The IOC has been the main funder for this school and we shall strive to develop our youth through sports and education. It has been a long journey but we hope that this will become one of the best examples of the spirit of Olympism by developing future heroes,” Dr Keino said.
Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandagor, welcomed the IOC to partner with the County to establish a centre in Eldoret “Since this is the area that has the highest concentration of Olympians in the world.”
“We should also partner to turn Kipkeino Stadium into a world class facility to benefit this and other surrounding Counties that are a reservoir of talent,” the County boss added.
America, UK, France and Australia issued a travel ban for their nationals and closed some of their consular services last month due to heightened threats of terrorist activities largely blamed on Al Qaeda linked group Al Shabaab.