Sawe’s Rio 2016 door not closed yet, Soi states

High jump national champion and record holder, Matthew Sawe in action. PHOTO/Courtesy
FILE PHOTO: High jump national champion and record holder, Matthew Sawe in action. PHOTO/Courtesy

Team Kenya head of mission for Rio 2016 Olympics, Stephen arap Soi has announced Wednesday that efforts are being made to ensure African High jump champion, Mathew Sawe competes at the Olympics.

The apparent axing of the field athlete has sparked furious debate with National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) and Athletics Kenya (AK) trading blame but Soi sought to draw a line over the matter with a statement.

“There has been misconception that some athletes were dropped by Nock first I do not agree with the term dropped because no qualified athlete for Rio 2016 games in all the sports disciplines was denied an opportunity to participate in the games because I am a protector of the Olympic Charter.

“Mathew Sawe did not qualify for the games but we are still pursuing his case because he is an Olympic solidarity scholarship holder. Our 4×400 relay team is ranked 18th while those eligible for the games are the first 15 with Brazil getting one slot automatically,” the Nock Executive Officer who is already in Brazil said in a statement.

Officials are grappling with which pair to leave behind among the quartet called up in the lap-relay side among Alphas Kishoiyan, Mike Mokamba, Raymond Kibet and Alex Sampao.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Sawe sought to have the matter resolved soon as he lauded the intervention of world men Javelin champion, Julius Yego, in the plight to retain his Rio 2016 place.

“Hearing I’ve been dropped and retained in the team at the same time has affected my preparations. I have not trained well since Friday (when news broke) and I’ve been trying to follow up the matter with AK and Nock since.

“Yego later called me and told me he had talked to the coach (Julius Kirwa) and (Lt) Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei (AK President) so that we clear the issue and know the way forward,” Sawe who has a 2.25m season’s best that is below the 2.29m A-Standard for Rio 2016 added.

“I went to pick up my belongings at the team’s camp but the coach told me he has not received official communication from Nock and so I should continue staying there. I was only there physically but detached mentally and psychologically as I saw my dream of competing at the Olympics were coming to an end,” the Durban 2016 African champion told.

“I was excited about having another field event competitor at the Olympics and when I heard he was being dropped, I remembered what happened to me in 2008,” the two-time African and Commonwealth Games Javelin winner, Yego explained the reason behind his intervention.

The YouTube Man who goes to Rio as the man to beat in Javelin was famously dropped by AK from Kenya’s team to the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland despite having thrown the A-Standard qualifying mark at the Trials held then at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.

Additional reporting by Charity Wanja

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