Olympics champion uses layoff instigated to prepare for defence in Tokyo

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon after winning gold at the 2017 World Championships in London. Photo/FILE

Athletics Kenya Chef De Mission Waithaka Kioni has asked Kenyans to be patient and see what the Athletics body has set aside for its athletes.

Kioni’s comments come hours after Kenyans took to social media to protest how the athletes were welcomed after their heroics in Tokyo in the just concluded Olympic Games.

In an exclusive interview with People Daily Digital, Kioni reiterated how it was impossible to organise a homecoming party due to the arrival time by some athletes, but promised to deliver a token to every athlete who represented the country.

‘’Our team arrived early in the morning, and it was impossible to organise something nice to appreciate what the athletes have done for the country, but I ask Kenyans to be patient enough to see what has been planned,’’ Kioni said

According to Kioni, the team is set to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta in a few days to come to celebrate their performance.

‘’I can tell you for sure, the athletes will meet the president and every athlete will receive a token as per their performance. Kenyans should stop the notion of comparing us with other countries,’’ Kioni added.

Kenyans on social media could not fathom the reception Ugandan athletes received for their heroics.

Notably, no government personnel, NOCK official nor Athletics Kenya officials were present to welcome the team back home as Eliud Kipchoge and his teammates silently landed back to their motherland.

Kipchoge successfully defended his Olympic title in the just concluded Olympic Games in Tokyo, by crossing the line at 2:08:38.

By defending his title, Kipchoge became the third athlete to defend an Olympic marathon title, after the bare-footed Ethiopian Abebe Bikila in 1960 and 1964 and East German legend Waldemar Cierpinski in 1976 and 1980.

Other Kenyans; Rodgers Kwemoi, Rhonex Kipruto, and Weldon Langat finished seventh, ninth, and 20th respectively in the 10,000 m before Kenya lost the men’s 3,000 m steeplechase gold after 37 years.

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