Kenyan police summon Olympic athletes over mistreatment

Nairobi, Aug 27 (IANS) The Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has summoned athletes who competed for the country to record statements on how officials mistreated them at the 31st Olympic Games in Brazil.

Olympic silver medalist and World men’s javelin champion Julius Yego on Friday told reporters in Nairobi that he is among those who had been contacted by the department to investigate the fiasco in the Kenyan team that has stolen the thunder from their best ever performance at the Games,reports Xinhua news agency.

“We are only going to give our grievances. Most athletes are yet to arrive so it’s only a few of us that have been called. I think at the end of the day it’s only a resolution-seeking move,” Yego said.

The development came barely 24 hours after the country’s Sports Minister Hassan Wario disbanded the National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOCK) whose headquarters remained locked on Friday as investigations ordered by the country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta into the scandals that rocked the team before, during and after the quadrennial event stepped up a notch.

NOCK and sports ministry officials have come under fire after claims of athletes being mistreated, the presence of a huge number of joy riders in Rio and the alleged selling off of the official kit from American firm Nike surfaced.

The Kenyan team was further thrown into disarray when the track and field manager Major (Rtd) Michael Rotich and sprints coach John Anzrah, were expelled from the Games by Wario with the former caught on tape soliciting for bribes to inform bogus athletes when drug testers were due to come.

Anzrah was caught impersonating an athlete, Ferguson Rotich (men 800 meter runner), who was due for an out of competition drug test although it later emerged he had ‘borrowed’ his accreditation badge to get free breakfast inside the Olympics Village.

“Unnecessary sideshows dampened the spirits of the team as alleged mismanagement of the team and perennial problem of missing kit came up. NOCK officials assured the kit, accommodation was in place,” Wario said when disbanding NOCK.

Their Nairobi headquarters remained locked with no officials or staff present despite Nock Secretary General, Francis K Paul, stressing they would continue operations despite the dissolution order from the minister.

“In fact, the IOC called me first because they’ve seen what’s been happening and I explained to them about the ministry’s decision to disband the committee, so I’m waiting for their call later on Friday.

“Once other NOCK officials arrive from Rio, we will set a meeting either on Saturday or Sunday and compile a report that we shall present to the IOC. In regards to why our offices are locked, I am the only available since everyone else went to Rio, and we will be in the office come next Monday,” Paul said.

The ministry’s decision to disband the committee came after pressure mounted from public anger on heads to roll following the debacle that rocked Team Kenya at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Wario handed Nock’s responsibilities on interim basis to Sports Kenya that is now faced with the task of adopting a new constitution and setting the election calendar.

–IANS

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