NAIROBI, Kenya: (Xinhua)– Kenya’s team returned from London Olympic Games on Wednesday downcast over a poor performance that saw it finish in position 28 with just 11 medals.
The team arrived in Nairobi without the Men’s 800m World Record Holder David Rudisha who together with Vivian Cheruiyot, Sally Kipyego and other elite runners opted to remain in Europe for the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Friday.
However, Olympic marathon silver medalist Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang, the bronze medal winner, Timothy Kitum, 800m bronze medallist and World Indoor 800m champion Pamela Jelimo were received in the morning as they returned the flag to the country.
“It was a nice experience to compete at the Olympics. We did not do what many expected, but this is sports where we have competition and the best prepared will always emerge victorious,” said Jelimo, the team captain who w***d up fourth in the 800m distance.
Head coach of athletics Julius Kirwa was categorical, poor planning by the management and lack of coordination was to blame for the dismal show in London Games.
“We did what we could on the training ground. The athletes were all focused, but the constant disturbance and interruption of camp by National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) officials was to blame,” he said.
“They did not have a concrete plan. We were not given what we wanted to help in training. How do you expect good results and you have done little to help in the development and preparation of these athletes?” posed Kirwa.
From a robust 14 medals haul in Beijing – six golds, four silvers and four bronzes – four years ago, Kenya were only good to pick two gold in 800m and 3,000m steeplechase. There was also four silver and six bronze medals.
However, NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino, asked for patience as a p*********m on the games is conducted to know who is to blame for the dismal show.
“The youths of this country always come first. We need to help them. The team in London did well. The competition was tough, but generally we tried. We have 11 medals and we should learn to appreciate that when things do not go our way, we move to address it,” he said.
“Now we need to sit down and draw a plan on how to revamp our participation. Olympics is beyond track and field and that is where we have not done well,” he said.
Apart from Athletics team manager Joseph Kinyua, there was no official from Athletics Kenya to receive the team. This was a clash of interest between AK and Nock over the management and training program of the team prior to the Olympics.
This spilled over in London with each camp accusing the other of sabotage. Kenya had its main hopes in track and field, where it had 51 athletes while boxing (two), weight lifting (one) and swimming (two) were the supplementary disciplines.
They all failed to make it to the finals of their respective categories leaving just track and field as Kenya’s sole medal contributor in the Games. (Xinhua)