Hugs, smiles, selfies in State House as Team Kenya pledge glory


Team Kenya captain and MP, Wesley Korir, hugs President Uhuru Kenyatta as other athletes watch ...
Team Kenya captain and MP, Wesley Korir, hugs President Uhuru Kenyatta as other athletes watch during the presentation of the national flag in State House, Nairobi, on Driday, July 22, 2016. PHOTO/Charity Wanja

It was all hugs and smiles for the 2012 Boston Marathon Champion and Cherangany Member of Parliament, Wesley Korir from President Uhuru Kenyatta as he promised to personally pay a visit to the parliamentarian’s home area if the overall Team Kenya captain brought a medal from Rio Olympics Games.

Korir who was officially handed the national flag by the Head of State at the a colourful ceremony held at State House on Friday afternoon in Nairobi promised to lead from the front.

“I shall put my best foot forward and make sure that I’ll not disappoint my President. It’s a tough assignment but I promise to deliver and close the Olympics in style.

“I hope we shall be among the medals. I also promised the people of Cherangany that I’ll make them proud and that’s an assignment that I won’t take lightly.  I still want to make history as the first sitting MP to win a medal in Olympics,” the debutant at the Summer Games in Brazil pledged.

Team Kenya athletes including Julius Yego, Viola Jelagat, Betsy Saina and David Rudisha pose for a selfie with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday, July 22, 2016. PHOTO/Charity Wanja
Team Kenya athletes including Julius Yego, Viola Jelagat, Betsy Saina and David Rudisha pose for a selfie with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday, July 22, 2016. PHOTO/Charity Wanja

Two-time Olympics gold winner Ezekiel Kemboi and reigning 800m champion; David Rudisha warmly embraced the President’s vote of confidence in his clarion call for the country to send a clean team to the Summer Games.

Kemboi who will be going for his fourth Olympics supported President Kenyatta’s strong message against the doping scourge.

“I don’t see the need of one to use drugs to win a medal. Just out on hard work in your training. My message for those who are busy using drugs to cheat should stop with immediate effect,” the four-time world champion also known as ‘Baba Yao’ (our father) stressed.

 

During the presentation, he thrilled the gathering by breaking into a jig when the invited Mizizi Band played local pop smash hits, Emily Chepchumba belted by Phillip Yegon he danced to at the 2011 Daegu Worlds to become a YouTube sensation and Ben Githae’s gospel number Mabataro.

Billionaire businessman and industrialist, Dr. Chris Kirubi, who had a hard time to access State House joined him as the gyrated to the beats in a ceremony where invited school children who were at the venue to receive Presidential Awards provided an obliging audience to the star dust that decorated the lush lawns of the country’s seat of power.

Two-time world champion and men 800m record holder, Rudisha, fresh from delivering a statement of intent when he ran to the world leading 1:43.35 in Hungary on Monday, supported his team captain emphasising the class of Rio 2016 will silence the critics.

“In sports we win with honour and lose with dignity. What I would like to say is that Kenyan athletes are clean and we are going to do our best through our hard work,” the two-lap king charged.

Men Javelin world champion, Julius Yego, also had a simple message for those branding Kenyan athletes cheats.

“We don’t dope to top, we train to top the medal table,” he offered in exhibiting his mastery of word play.

After the flag was presented, the gathering of star athletes then took the moment to pose for selfies with the obliging President and sharing them on social media in another display of the digital administration Kenyatta’s regime has embraced.

President Uhuru Kenyatta hands the national flag to Team Kenya for Rio 2016 Olympics on Friday, July 22, 2016. PHOTO/Charity Wanja
President Uhuru Kenyatta hands the national flag to Team Kenya for Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games as Nock officials, chairman Kipchoge Keino (third R), James Chacha (second R) and Athletics Kenya president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei (right) look on at State House, Nairobi on Friday, July 22, 2016. PHOTO/Charity Wanja

It was hard to fathom the country’s revered past leaders, his father Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki getting all to close and cosy to the most powerful man in the republic.

Besides the athletes, Kenya rugby sevens heroes who hoisted the President aloft when they returned as Singapore 7s champions in May were also present alongside their Lionesses women counterparts and other exponents in boxing, archery, judo, weightlifting and Paralympic athletes.

“We are looking to win the first game against Great Britain because we believe if we start the campaign on a high, the rest will be easier to manage. The team is wary of Great Britain and New Zealand because of what they have done in the HSBC World Series but we will not underrate Japan.

“The weather in Brazil is similar to that of Singapore and it is a complimentary factor to the team. Its the first time for rugby sevens at the Olympics. Majority of the players in our side can match the pace expected in Rio,” World Series record try scorer, Collins Injera added.

Two-time World Half and World Cross champion, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor (men 10000m), World Half and World Cross silver winner, Bedan Karoki (men 10000m), world champion Nicholas Bett and twin brother, Aron Koech (men 4oom Hurdles), Viola Lagat (women 1500m) and Betsy Saina (women 10000m) were other Rio bound runners present.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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