It will take USD5, 304,386.73 (Sh542, 079, 150) to send the Kenyan squad to next year’s 2016 Olympics in Rio-de-Janeiro, the national Olympics body has projected.
At the same time, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario slammed the National Olympics Committee-Kenya for attempting to stay above the recently enacted Sports Act.
Speaking during the launch of the Road to Rio-de-Janeiro fund raising effort in Nairobi on Thursday, National Olympics Committee-Kenya chairman, Dr. Kipchoge Keino, announced an advance delegation from the country had been sent to Brazil to scout for a suitable training venue.
The Olympics body has planned for a contingent of 80 athletes and two team sports, the men’s rugby sevens team and either of the women’s volleyball or football in addition to Noc-k and technical officials.
“I’m sure we are ready to prepare the Kenyan team. The money required to prepare the team starting now to all the federations preparing to qualify. If you take what happened in 2012, we need to improve.
“We need to sit down will all federations so that we need to for them to qualify. We are looking at between 80 and 100 athletes,” the Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972 Olympics champion and distance running legend told on the 2012 London debacle where infighting among athletes, federations and Noc-k cost the country a better shot at glory.
The Noc-k boss identified the city of Sao Paolo as the likely venue of Kenya’s training camp in Brazil ahead of their entry to Rio where they are aiming to beat the record tally of 6 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
“We know Brazil is prepared, we have been there recently and you have done the best. We need our athletes there before the opening ceremony to help them to acclimatise.
“We found out in Rio, there are no facilities unless we go to Sao Paolo where they have facilities. Sao Paolo is far and we require more money,” Kipchoge told.
In the 30th Olympics Games in London, Kenya sent 51 athletes with 47 among them belonging to the track and field team that won two gold, four silver and five bronze.
– Wario attack-
Speaking at the function, Sports Cabinet Secretary, Wario took a dig at Noc-k after they presented him with the Olympics Charter in a bid to prove their independent from provisions of the Sports Act.
“You cannot be independent; you are not somewhere in the air and when it comes to budgets you come to me, how? We should work together for the interests of Kenyan athletes.
“This idea of creating fiefdoms and trying to protect your interests is wrong, whatever federation you are. You are here because you are in Kenya. National Olympics Committee-Kenya, where are you?
“We don’t want to come and run your office, we are saying every country you operate, there are rule,” the tough talking minister told the gathering as assembled heads of various federations and the Olympics body looked on dismayed.
“I will one day read the Olympics Charter when I’m free and the letter saying people are independent. What I know, everyone has their own mandate but in Kenya we have a roadmap of how we want to streamline sports in Kenya,” Wario continued with his diatribe.
He offered to organise a gathering of captains of leading corporate firms, a small management team from Noc-k and ministry officials to pitch the idea of raising funds for the Rio team as he challenged federations to seek outside sponsorships to augment the Government money.
During the function, communications firm Oxygen 8 gave the Rio effort Sh15m (USD 146,778.94) with the Chandaria Foundation adding another Sh1m (USD 9,785.26).
The race to Rio continues on Sunday when Harambee Starlets host South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the return leg of their third round qualifier in Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos where Kenya trail 1-0.