Tokyo Olympics challenges

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 00:00 |
Rodgers Kwemoi (right) after beating Kibiwot Kandie to the tape to win the 10km senior men race at the National Cross Country Championships last month. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) yesterday revealed the concept of a bubble training camp in Kenya is far from being perfect.

In a candid assessment, Tokyo Olympics Games Chef de Mission Waithaka Kioni and Barnaba Korir, Team Kenya’s general team manager to the Games laid bare the challenges they are facing even as Kenya team enters week three of bubble camp at the Stadion Hotel, Kasarani.

Kioni said the move that was meant to keep the sportspersons safe and healthy in preparations for the Games is facing several obstacles, in the Kenyan instance.

“Managing athletes in a bubble camp in our situation in Kenya has not been easy. Because that concept means you put your athletes and their support in a bubble with limited or no interactions with other parties.

But the situation here is very different because the athletes are in camp at Kasarani, a government facility, that is also accommodating other people, the athletes are being served by employees of Sports Kenya who are not residents of that facility,” Kioni explained yesterday.

The Nock executive member said the body is trying to do their best but warned it might not be enough.

A reckless Kenyan culture that is also being exhibited by the athletes is another challenging factor as cited by Kioni.

“Everyone even the President Kenyatta  is insisting on the strict following of Covid-19 protocols adherence.

Social distancing, washing hands and wearing face masks. But in reality you know what is happening.

There is kind of careless attitude unfortunately extends to our own athletes,” Kioni said while aiming a dig at the athletes for their unwarranted movements in and out of camp.

The bubble camp was opened for Team Kenya squads preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

According to Korir, track and field athletes were the first in camp after going through pre-camp screening and were joined by the volleyball and rugby teams.

That, Kioni said, is a fact that the situation is not easy to manage. 

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