James Magayi @Magayijim
With just two days to go before the first batch of Team Kenya departs for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia, confusion marred a section of the camp after the perennial problem of disappearing kits reared its ugly head yet again.
Angry athletes yesterday threatened to go on strike if they do not receive their full kits and vowed to boycott the Club Games altogether if their allowances are not paid.
The track and field unit camping at Milele Hotel refused to take the issued kits, which were light by several items, claiming sports administrators in the country are not being straight with them.
“The seals were broken and temporary glue applied to fool us,” said long jump and 400m hurdles specialist Pricillah Tabunda. However, National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) boss Paul Tergat claimed the kits were arriving in the country in batches and promised all athletes that they would get all their required kits before they left the country.
The athletes also claimed that they had not received any allowances since they reported to camp on March 3 but sources at the Ministry of Sports late yesterday claimed the allowances were being processed and would be paid to the athletes tomorrow. “Our administrators are taking us for granted.
We put in a lot of effort in training and sacrifice so much to go and represent the country but these officials are taking us for a ride. What is the essence of giving me kits without running shoes and spikes?
We don’t want the kits unless they are complete,” said former World Junior 2000m steeplechase gold medallist Amos Kirui NOC-K last Saturday delivered bags containing kits meant for medal ceremonies which the team rejected and vowed not to touch until the missing items are found.
The athletes also took issue with their training schedule. They are ferried to Ngong hills or Karura Forest every morning for their long runs while speed drills are conducted at Kasarani. A lot of time is wasted in traffic which disrupts their training.
“They told us that Sports View in Kasarani was too expensive so they brought us here. But we can waste as much as two hours in traffic before we reach training destinations and that is not good. We are prepared to endure that, but not messing with our kits,” said one senior athlete who requested anonymity.