Fears rise that athletes may jump ship if Kenya gets banned
Athletics Kenya Nairobi branch chairman Barnabas Korir has said the court injunction filed at the High Court postponing the Athletics Kenya elections may impact negatively on the country’s hopes at the World championships in Russia.
Korir noted that Kenya now risks suspension by the International Association of Athletics Federations following litigation by the court which will be perceived as government interference.
“Look at what happened to Tunisia the other day they were suspended and we dont want that to happen to us as we are a proud athletic nation,” he added.
Korir said athletes in the country will be disillusioned if indeed Kenya get banned and may seek greener pastures elsewhere.
“Athletics is an individual sport and the athletes may get jittery and seek other avenues of earning a living by competing for other countries who are very willing to adopt Kenyan runners to gain international glory. The AK elections were due to start yesterday at the county level followed thereafter by the regional elections on April 23 and the national elections s on April 30 and with the new developments AK may not have their election done by the tend of the month as per the AK constitution.
This is the fifth time the elections have been postponed. They were initially set for November last year but were postponed to January and then to February to March and then April in a raft of postponements owing to logistical issues such as membership criteria and the general election last month.
Meanwhile retired athletes in Uasin Gishu County have called on the government to stop interfering on the management of Athletics Kenya.
Led by former Olympic champion Benjamin Limo and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist William Mutwol, they said political interests should not derail the successful running of the federation.
Several delagates and candidates who had gone to the 64 Stadium to hold elections had to return after they were cancelled.
“We are learning of the cancellation today (Tuesday) after we have come here. Let those who are hindering this process stop their own interests,”Limo said.
Limo said the interference may affect the athletics fraternity including performance of the athletes.”
Former legendary runner Rose Tata Muya and retired athlete Joshua Chelanga said they were disappointed by the latest development but insisted the court order must be respected.
“The new development has caught us by surprise. We have no alternative but to accept and follow the law.We are totally disappointed,” Observed Chelanga.