I’ll quit sports if voted out, Nock boss Kipchoge declares
Embattled National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) president Dr. Kipchoge Keino is ready to step down from sports administration including honorary roles if he is voted out of office in the forthcoming elections slated for March.
Reacting to reports the International Olympics Committee (IOC) had stripped Nock Executive Committee of voting powers in a bid to prevent them from influencing the polls that will be held under a new Constitution, Kipchoge accused Ministry of Sports Art and Culture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Hassan Wario of engineering their forced removal from office
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“We shall have to consult the Olympics Charter. If that’s true then I shall go home and retire into farming. I did the best I could for the country. We had the best Olympics performance at Rio 2016 where the country bagged six gold, six silver and a bronze medal.
“We were number two in the track and field worldwide and number one in Africa overall,” the two-time Olympic champion widely regarded as the father of Kenyan athletics underlined.
The first ever recipient of the Olympics Laureate Award introduced by IOC President Thomas Bach during the opening ceremony of Rio 2016 last August denied claims of corruption during his tenure at Nock that started when he succeeded Charles Mukora in 1999.
“We did not sell any Government property we only sold Nock properties to fund the building of the headquarters. The Government is not funding us even in payment of the workers
“Why are they inferring with Nock? Wario just wants to be left to control everything. He does not understand the troubles and suffering of the athletes like I do,” the Honorary IOC life member alleged.
Once again, he absolved the under fire Executive Committee he heads from the Rio 2016 scandal that brought pressure for his team to resign with four of his top officials facing charges in court.
“They said we stole the kits and took them from our stores. The kits were just kept there some of them arrived late and we were still going to distribute them,” Kipchoge told Citizen Digital.
The Mexico 1968 men 1500m and Munich 1972 men 3000m Olympic champion is facing the sternest challenge to his rule at Nock following the fiasco that made international headlines that threatens to taint his rich legacy in the sport.
On Monday, communication from the IOC spelt out Kipchoge and his Executive- that numbers 13- will not be eligible to vote for themselves during the forthcoming polls in what significantly reduces their grip on power.
The fate of the incumbent officialdom now lies in the hands of federations who have for long battled to gain control of the national Olympics body with Nock Executive Officer Stephen arap Soi who is accused as the architect of the Rio scandal dismissing the new development.
“Your story was not factual and does not compare to the communication we got from the IOC. So you are calling me so that you can verify your story by getting my reaction,” Soi fired back Citizen Digital after the report first appeared on this website on Monday.
Team Kenya Chef-de-Mission for Rio 2016 Soi who has denied five counts related to theft of USD 256,000 (Ksh 25, 907,705.82) from the Government, Nock and Athletics Kenya (AK) maintains the reports are malicious propaganda.
Nock Vice-president Pius Ochieng and Secretary Francis Kinyili Paul were charged with pinching Team Kenya kits from the sporting apparel company Nike.
Second Vice-president and the Kenya Swimming Federation boss Ben Ekumbo was later dramatically arrested under his bed following the investigations on mistreatment of Team Kenya and theft.
Nock Treasurer Fridah Shiroya was arrested then released and turned into a State witness with the accused bosses out on a Ksh200,000 cash bail.
Following the development, AK president retired Lieutenant General Jackson Tuwei said that the federation will seek representation at the Executive Committee having been locked out by the current regime.
“We are the majority but do not have any representative in Nock. During the elections we shall declare our interest,” Tuwei who head the sport that won Kenya most of her medals at the Olympics.
Boxers Robert Wangila Napunyi (gold 1988) and Phillip Waruinge (silver 1972, bronze 1968), Samuel Mbugua (bronze 1972), Dick Murunga (bronze 1972), Ibrahim Bilali (bronze 1984) and Chris Sande (bronze 1988) are the only other Kenyans outside athletics to medal at the Olympics.
Boxing also does not have a representative in the current Nock executive.
In their letter, IOC set other requirements the country has to meet to avoid being banned from the Olympics Games including holding an Extraordinary General Assembly by end of this month or early February to adopt the revised Noc-k constitution.
They are also to send the draft constitution to the IOC where it will be reviewed before February 7.
Once everything has been streamlined the Elective General Assembly will be given the node to hold the elections by March 2017.