NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Athletics Kenya (AK) President Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei has asked the government to intervene and ensure the country sends a team to the Youth Commonwealth Games in August after the embattled National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) announced that Kenya had withdrawn.
Speaking to Capital Sport, an enraged Tuwei confirmed that as an affiliate of NOCK, they were never consulted on the decision and only received a communiqué from the Olympic Committee which also manages teams to the Commonwealth Games.
“It is absolutely disappointing because if we cannot give an opportunity to the young talent at this moment then there is nothing we are doing. These are young athletes looking forward to compete with the rest of the commonwealth countries in future and it is demoralizing to deny them this chance,” Tuwei said.
“We request the government to take up the matter and see if we can enter a team directly because we want to expose our athletes. We as AK are ready to select and manage our team. This is one of the openings for them which is rare because it comes only once in two years,” the AK boss added.
Last week, NOCK through Secretary General Francis Kinyili Paul sent out a circular to all qualified federations informing them of the decision. However, his boss Kipchoge Keino said that if they find sponsors then the decision might be rescinded.
Tuwei is disappointed that NOCK has decided to deny a chance for the young athletes to build their confidence and earn experience.
“It is bad for us because we cannot even prepare for the future be it Olympics or World Championships, if we don’t get them exposed now. This is the first time Kenya is missing the Youth Commonwealth Games and it is sad,” Tuwei stated.
Director of Administration in the Ministry of Sports Harun Komen has promised to look into the matter, while acknowledging the importance of having a Kenyan team in Bahamas.
“It is very disappointing that a few individuals think they can make decisions for everybody else. This is something serious and we will take up the matter with the necessary officials at the ministry and I promise that we will send a team to Bahamas,” Komen offered.
NOCK has been hit with scandals since the fiasco in Rio which saw some of its officials accused of mismanaging the team, its resources and funds.
Currently, there is a war between the incumbents and affiliates over a change in the constitution and an overhaul of the leadership owing to the cracks that emerged from Rio.