NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Athletics Kenya (AK) President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei is appealing to the IEBC to make special provision to allow Kenyan athletes participating in the IAAF World Championships in London to vote during the August 8 General Elections while in the United Kingdom.
Tuwei says they had petitioned through the Ministry of Sports to find ways in which the athletes who will be on national duty would vote at the Kenyan High Commission in London.
However, the same seems to be hitting a brick wall with operational constraints having led IEBC to dictate a phased approach in deciding on the number of countries to be considered, in line with its Diaspora policy.
The Commission has registered voters in Bujumbura (Burundi), Arusha and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda) and Pretoria (South Africa).
“Unfortunately we will be out of the country during the national elections so we may not be able to vote, but I requested the Ministry of Sports to consider us to vote at the Kenyan High Commission in London so that we exercise our democratic rights,” Tuwei said on Wednesday during the launch of the 2017 Safaricom Athletics Series.
-Trials set for June-
At the same time, the AK chief announced that the trials to select the Kenyan team that will compete at the London World Championships will be held from June 22-24 at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
“We invite all Kenyans to come and watch the athletes who will represent Kenya in the World Championships in London. We are the defending champions so we have to prepare early.”
Also, Tuwei has confirmed that 122 countries have confirmed participation at the 2017 IAAF U18 World Championships to be hosted at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium from July 12-16.
There were fears that many countries would withdraw from the competition after six major nations; defending champions United States of America (USA), Britain, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland and Australia pulled out citing security concerns.
-Safaricom boosts Series-
Meanwhile, the fifth edition of the Athletics Series received a shot in the arm after title sponsors Safaricom injected Sh65mn towards the annual races.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon during the launch, Safaricom Director for Regional Sales and Operations Steve Okeyo said the company’s objective is to develop upcoming athletes.
First on the calendar is the National Deaf Athletics Championships to take place this weekend in Uasin Gishu County.
“We have seen the powerful role that sports plays in uniting Kenyans, uplifting families and creating careers. Many of the current generation of athletics stars have participated in the Safaricom Athletics Series, with the likes of Conseslus Kipruto and Nicholas Bett actually catapulting their careers through this event and going on to represent Kenya at the 2016 Olympics,” Okeyo said.
The Safaricom Athletics Series will feature a line-up of nine long distance races and three track and field events, bringing the total to 12 events this year.
“Our sponsorship of the IAAF World Under-18 Championships is testament to our belief in the wealth of sporting talent we have among our youth. Having experienced the power of bringing people together through sports we’d like to see more stars being discovered through this sponsorship, as we work together with organisations such as Athletics Kenya and the Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya among others to ensure that Kenya continues to be recognized as the home of athletics champions,” Okeyo added.