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Kenyan athletic chiefs accuse minister of interfering with athletes

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-12-10 09:36
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NAIROBI - Athletics Kenya officials on Saturday protested against the cabinet secretary for sports over what they said was the minister's attempt to take over the running of athletics in the country.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Senior Vice-President in Charge of Competitions, Paul Mutwii, took issue with the minister's recent act of single-handedly selecting a team to represent Kenya at an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label status marathon in South Africa without input from the association.

"Entering athletes to any international and foreign-organized events anywhere in the world is the sole duty and business of Athletics Kenya," Mutwii reiterated.

"The association can also enter athletes in foreign competitions through managers who are officially approved by AK as agents to act on behalf of the organization," he added.

In September, Wario flagged off a team of five runners to participate at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon without involving Athletics Kenya as should be the norm.

He promised the runners cash awards of 10,000 U.S. dollars, 5,000 dollars and 2,500 dollars respectively for podium finishes.

However, Ethiopian runners won the men's and women's races with the highest placed Kenyan, Agnes Kiprop coming third in a time of 2:31.00.

Mutwii questioned who would have been answerable in case misfortune befell any or all of the runners.

"An athlete can fall into problems outside the country like getting sick, getting arrested or being attacked and as the party that sent them out, we become liable," he said.

"The images of Recho Kosgei struggling after she collapsed and almost died during this year's Warsaw Marathon are still fresh in people's mind and so that of the Ethiopian athlete who was shot dead during this year's Paris Marathon" Mutwii said.

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