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AK rebels stopped on their tracks

KIPLAGAT-NOCKNAIROBI, Kenya, November 15 –The planned Special General Meeting by 14 rebel Athletics Kenya (AK) affiliates aborted Friday after they were slapped with a court order barring them from holding the gathering at the federation’s Riadha House headquarters in Nairobi.

The branch chairmen led by vice president Paul Mutwii were intending to forcibly throw out AK boss Isaiah Kiplagat from the helm of the body he has led for 22 years but they were stopped at the gates of the headquarters before they could proceed.

They found the building heavily guarded by two armed Administration Police officers alongside hired security personnel with sniffer dogs.

Former women’s world marathon record holder Tegla Loroupe was caught up in the melee and held up for close to ten minutes before she was let out after attending to other matters at Riadha.

“We are killing the morale of upcoming athletes because of selfishness. I’m really annoyed, they could have waited we finish next year’s World Championships for them to start fighting.

“What kind of message are we portraying out there? I respect the federation because without them I would have not been where I am today. They have been eating together for a long time but are now washing their dirty linen in public.

“Everybody has issues but this is not the way to express them so let’s forgive one another and think of promoting peace through sports,” Loroupe the former three-time World Half- Marathon champion complained.

The over 50 delegates drawn from across the country led by respective branch heads expressed their resolve to continue agitating for change at arguably the most successful federation in the country.

“We were supposed to hold the SGM today (Friday) as we earlier indicated but we found an injunction. We are going to follow the rule of the law to the letter and because an injunction is a temporary setback we will pursue this matter until things are streamlined.

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“We want athletics to continue and ensure performances of athletes are not affected in any way. We are going to make sure the SGM is held and if not we will find an alternative way,” Nairobi branch boss Barnabas Korir avowed.

Eastern chairman and former AK treasurer Joseph Kinyua was disappointed by the development saying it was a sad day for Kenya Athletics.

“The purpose of the meeting was to streamline issues in the federation which is a normal practice in any credible organisation. I’m surprised by AK’s direction of obtaining two court orders,” Kinyua told.

Earlier on Thursday, the rebels met Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario and have a court date on November 26 to answer the injunction filed Central Rift chairman Abraham Mutai stopping the SGM.

The 14 out of 16 branch officials claimed they followed AK Constitution invoking Article 10/2D which empowers members to convene an SGM if the president fails to do so after a 21- day notice.

The meeting was to discuss Kiplagat’s conduct, age and mismanagement under his leadership for over two decades that could adversely affect Kenya’s preparations for the forthcoming international assignments including the World Championships in Beijing, World Cross in Guiyang, China as well as the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

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