NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – Athletics Kenya (AK) has squarely blamed the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) over the confusion that saw some of the athletes find their tickets to Rio de Janeiro missing before the matter was quickly solved.
On Sunday, Kenya’s third batch to Rio that mostly comprised of track and field athletes had refused to board the plane after world champion Julius Yego missed his ticket alongside that of world silver meddallist Elijah Manang’oi before Kenya Airways revalidated their tickets to allow the athletes travel.
However, AK has shown its discontent with the way its athletes have been treated by NOCK since the team was selected early July, saying they were concerned by the turn of events in Kenya and Rio affecting athletes ahead of the start of the athletics programme on Friday.
“Any confusion as we have seen with athletes travel is solely a mistake of NOCK. The top leadership are in Rio and Athletics Kenya had to work throughout the weekend to sort out the travel hitch which affected most athletes like Julius Yego. So fed up are the athletes that some of them like Asbel Kiprop had to make their own arrangements while there has been someone in NOCK who has been drawing allowances to facilitate smooth travel,” a statement from AK read.
“Athletics Kenya is one of the affiliates of NOCK, a body which is solely responsible for preparing and entering competitors in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Our mandate is only to prepare athletes and hand them over to NOCK for the residential training camp, subsequent travel, accommodation and competition in host countries.”
AK also clarified on Calvin Nkanata’s issue after the 200m national record holder was withdrawn from the team in the last minute despite arriving in Rio with Team Kenya head of delegation Stephen Soi claiming Nkanata, who holds US citizenship was not eligible to compete since the Olympic eligibility rule had complicated his entry.
The American based Kenyan runner arrived in Rio without his accreditation and was therefore required to produce his Kenyan passport which he is yet to acquire to access the village.
The organisers would not accept his American passport as a form of identification as he had been registered as a Kenyan athlete.
“As per NOCK timetable, we sent names of probable athletes for the Rio Olympics in March to be accredited by NOCK including that of Calvin Nkanata whose papers were sent on 29th February, 2016. The papers clearly indicated that he travels on an American passport although he has a Kenyan Identification Card,” AK claimed.
“AK entered Calvin in 2014 Africa Championships and last year’s IAAF World Championships. NOCK has had his papers since March, reconfirmed his travel and received his accreditation or lack of it. Why did they not cross check his accreditation which was rejected under Rule 40 of the IOC? Accreditation confirmation is done months in advance. So what did the advance NOCK team go to Rio to do?” AK questioned.
-AK on Rotich-
At the same, AK has come out clear on the deportation of Athletics Team Manager to Rio Olympics Major Michael Rotich, who was recalled back home after an investigation alleged he demanded money to give warnings about doping tests.
“We appointed the technical officials including Major Rotich who has reportedly been sent home over doping allegations. However, we cannot comment on this issue until we independently ascertain what has been going on including giving Major Rotich a fair hearing.
“But as far as we are concerned Major Rotich was not acting on behalf of Athletics Kenya neither were Kenyan athletes including those in Rio and at home involved in this matter.