NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – As the countdown to the postponed Olympics Games continues, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and the Ministry of Sports are in a two-day retreat in Naivasha to put together the Road to Tokyo action plan.
With 219 days to the Summer Games slated to run from July 23 to August 8, 2020, this gives the stakeholders just six months to ensure that everything is in place in readiness for Team Kenya to represent the country on the world stage.
The retreat will be attended by top officials in the Ministry including the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary, NOC-K Executive members led by the president Paul Tergat, Chef De Mission of Tokyo 2020, Waithaka Kioni and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.
The meeting has drawn several agendas to get to the objective of getting the action plan in place for Team Kenya Preparations.
Foremost, the meeting is expected to receive a report from the Rio Olympics probe to understand what was amiss in Rio and how to plan appropriately to manage the team better heading into Tokyo.
The local and international training camps will also be discussed. The local camp venues and schedules are drawn by the technical officials of the qualified team, for optimum benefit for the specific athletes needs.
Furthermore, for Team Kenya to be fully prepared, qualified teams need to travel and train in high performance environments.
Kenya entered into an MOU and signed a contract with Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Tokyo, who agreed to host Team Kenya’s international pre-games camp. The City is still committed to hosting Team Kenya for the pre-games camp on the new dates in 2021.
The meeting is expected therefore to discuss the schedule of the teams and requisite preparations including planning for COVID-19 compliance in Japan.
The budget will also be tabled and discussed in the meeting. The principal funding of the Olympic Games is expected to be covered by Government, therefore it is the opportune time for the budget to be discussed and understood by the Government officials to facilitate the timely approval and release of funds. Part of the glitches reported from previous games is late approval of budgets which hamper the operations.
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, lead by the C.E.O Japter Rugut, is expected to give a brief of the status of Anti-Doping in Kenya and the plan of action heading into Tokyo, considering the disruptions brought about by the pandemic. Being on the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) watch list, education, awareness and collective responsibility is extremely important to ensure Team Kenya competes clean, especially as we plan for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
‘’From the athletes perspective, it is mentally challenging for them, having prepared for the Games for four years, and still facing a lot of uncertainty, including the challenges they are facing with training. We should therefore work on giving the athletes the best preparations we possibly can. They need physical, psychological and material support to get them in a competitive level. This joint stakeholders’ meetings is therefore a good step towards this. As critical stakeholders, we need to strive to ensure that we do not drop the ball,’’ Paul Tergat, NOC-K President.
At the end of the retreat, the Cabinet Secretary will receive the recommendations from the meeting and launch the Road to Tokyo Olympic Games Action Plan.