NAIROBI, AUGUST 31 – The fate of long-serving Athletics Kenya (AK) president, Isaiah Kiplagat, is in the hands of the federation’s National Executive Committee who are set to meet after the September Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.
At the same, Kiplagat who resumed duty on Monday after a three-month sabbatical leave, announced his vice-president in charge of Competitions and Administration, David Okeyo, has been appointed to serve in the IAAF Governing Council as the Area representative for Africa.
Addressing the press for the first time since losing the race for the IAAF vice-presidency, Kiplagat strongly hinted he would end his 40 years’ service in athletics since joining AK as vice-president in 1975.
“I know I said I’m taking leave up to August 31 but when somebody takes leave what happens when it ends? But I’m not going to force myself in AK, I have done my part.
“Kenya is on top of the world after finishing first in Beijing and sometimes it’s good to go a happy man so that at least you can be proud that you are part of the performance,” the veteran administrator who has ruled AK for 23 years declared.
“What remains for now is for the Executive Committee to finalise all arrangements but because we are preparing for the Africa Games, we will wait until after they end.
“I will tell them my position and whatever decision they make, I will accept, if they decide to confirm those who have been working in my absence, well and good; but for now leave is over,” the stern AK boss added.
Kiplagat stepped down as AK president to focus on his campaigns for the IAAF top seat and the NEC approved Lt.Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei in an acting capacity, pending ratification by the national congress.
But despite losing the seat to Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) president, Malboum Kalkaba, the former Posta Bank Managing Director said he will leave with his head high, having managed to bring three international events, the Mombasa 2007 World Cross Country, 2010 Nairobi African Championships and forthcoming 2017 World Youth Games to Nairobi.
“The World Youth has its own problems; we don’t have a secretariat, equipment, warm up track because Nyayo Stadium must be rehabilitated so the ministry of Sports must take the lead.
“During my tenure, I gave the Executive Committee proposals that can make AK self reliant, my dream was to build a five star hotel in Kasarani Stadium where we have 23 hectares and have our own TV and Radio station since we already have licenses.”
-Top of the world-
Kiplagat hailed the team to the just concluded Beijing World Championships where the class of 2015 topped the medal standings ahead of athletics power houses, Jamaica and USA on 16, seven gold, six silver and three bronze.
“It was an excellent performance and the best ever. It will of cause make me a happier man as I prepare to exit AK that Kenya is on top of the world. The splendid performance is because of the structures we have put in place including weekend meetings.
“We have decided to concentrate on field events and I must thank the Finish federation for accepting Yego (Julius) as one of their own in training and it was incredible that he was able to beat Finnish athletes who have been training together under the same coach,” he underscored.
Okeyo, who failed to retain the IAAF Cross Country Commission presidency but managed to stay on as a member, will replace Kiplagat in the Governing Council to become the fourth African on the board which has Kalkaba, who served as Area Representative as the CAA president, council members Moroccan Nawal El Moutawakel and Frankie Fredericks of Namibia.
“We discussed with outgoing IAAF president, Lamine Diack and Kalkaba to see how Kenya can be accommodated in the Council. The constitution of CAA says if the president gets the highest position, then the senior vice-president takes over representation of Africa.
“We settled on Okeyo because the next senior vice-president comes from Mauritius which is in the southern region and they already have Namibia’s Fredericks. We must congratulate him for having been nominated to that position so that Kenya is not absent in the Council,” Kiplagat explained.
Okeyo’s nomination will see him serve for the next four years.
The IAAF council consists of 27 elected members, including one President, four Vice Presidents, one Treasurer and one representative from the six area groups.