Kenyan runners will not take part in the team match parade on July 27 marking the official opening of the London 2012 Games at the Olympic Park, as the bulk of the team will leave the country three days later.
After an hour-long marathon meeting chaired by Sports Secretary Wilson Lang’at, National Olympics Committee with the Athletics Kenya, the runners and the Technical officials on Monday at the Moi International Sports Centre,Kasarani,concurred that an earlier travel to London did not favour the runners.
The Sports Secretary however maintained that the ‘concession was for the good of the nation and the athletes,’ perceptibly aware that an earlier travel against the wishes of the athletes could affect their performances.
“Date of departure wasn’t a major problem after all as the July 22 which had been scheduled earlier was not arbitrary chosen. This plan has been deviated from in consultation and agreement with the athletes today,” explained Lang’at dismissing reports of a crisis in the Kenyan camp ahead of the Games.
The Daily Nation reported that some of the stars had ‘refused to travel to Britain whose weather and altitude are not good for training.’
“Some of the athletes will leave as planned on 22nd and because of training programs others will leave on July 30,”said Lang’at adding that the athletes had been granted the choice to pick their preferred dates of travel.
“Athletes have been given the freedom to chose the dates of departure. The technical officials and the athletes will work out who leaves when,” he added.
The athletics programme begins on August 3, almost a week after the opening, “Am pleased with the new dates as it gives me, the athletes more time to finish ‘micro-cycle’ training which is a core part of their preparations.”
“As is it is 90% of the athletes in camp will travel on 30th,”David Rudisha, the Kenya team captain told sportsnewsarena.com.
The men’s marathon trio will leave on August 7.
The world 800m record holder was among the runners, who were meant to have travelled to the Pre-Olympics camp on July 3 alongside the sprinters, boxers and the weightlifter.
Even as the first batch of the Kenyan Olympics team moved into the Olympic village from Bristol on Monday, NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino clarified that there would be ‘no burst of officials’ at the Kenya team camp as they were within their specified quota.
But the sideshows have not kept away corporates eager to support team Kenya in their pre-Olympics training.
Coca-Cola Central,East and West Africa on Monday boosted the Olympics camp with a sponsorship of Ksh. 5million.
“To show our support for team Kenya and NOCK, we are providing a sponsorship of Ksh. 4 million cash as well as Ksh.1 million worth of product,”said Rock Findley, the Coca Cola Country Manager.
Coca Cola worked with a local artist and producer Madtraxx to create the Kenya Olympic Anthem, ‘Move to the beat’ which will be used during the Olympic period.