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Nairobi — Kenya will send a delegation of 123 athletes to this year’s Commonwealth Games to be hosted in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
In a bid to improve on the 2018 outing in Gold Coast where the country bagged 17 medals (4-gold, 7-Silver and 6-Bronze) to finish 14th overall, 20 sports teams will share out the allocated slots based on their current and previous performances.
Athletics which is the most successful sport in the country has taken a huge chunk of 45 athletes with the rest of the disciplines to be allocated the remaining 78 slots.
To set the ball rolling, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) has outlined two pillars that will guide the team currently is in residential camp at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.
NOC-K Secretary General Francis Mutuku revealed in a Wednesday presser that the Committee is preparing to send out a dynamic and well-prepared team “with two key objectives looping in their minds; being a podium finish and building in-depth for the future.
“We have jointly agreed with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage that we are going for improved performances at the Games. NOC-K has monitored closely the selection criteria of the teams to ensure that the best Kenyan athletes are selected to represent the country,” Mutuku said.
“We are not only offering athletes technical training; we are taking advantage to introduce education and awareness topics to the athletes. Some of the training will include medical, elite performance, financial literacy, etiquette, mental wellness and media relations,” The SG added.
“We are in close collaboration with ADAK to protect and support clean athletes, so that we can secure the integrity of sports in the country. The testing is on schedule, ADAK has secured the resources required and Kenya is expected to be fully compliant,” Mutuku stated.
Team Kenya Chef De Mission for the Birmingham Games, John Ogolla, on his part, assured of the commitment to good preparations at the iconic Games.
“With the local camp having started on 21st of May, most teams are in Kasarani. Those sports whose training facilities are not in good proximity to Kasarani are being facilitated to train at satellite venues,” the CDM said.
In addition, the Chef De Mission spoke on preparations at Birmingham.
“Team Kenya will be in three villages, which gives us additional logistics and administration needs, but we are planning sufficiently for this. The villages are at Birmingham University, University of Warwick and NEC Hotels in Birmingham. The sports are spread between the villages based on proximity to the competition venues.”
As of Wednesday May 25, 10 teams had reported at Kasarani namely; Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Hockey, Weightlifting, Basketball 3X3, Wheelchair Basketball, Para Athletics, Para Powerlifting, Para Cycling.
Lawn Bowls, Squash, Swimming and Beach Volleyball will be training in satellite camps.
Teams yet to report to camp are Athletics, Triathlon, Badminton, Rugby & Table Tennis. Rugby and Table Tennis are in competitions abroad, while the others are yet to select their final teams.
The Marathon team is the only confirmed Athletics team and are already in training at their various camps in Ngong, Kapsabet, Iten and Nyeri.
Speaking on athletes’ welfare and government funding, NOC-K 1st Vice president Shadrack Maluki spoke confidently that NOC-K’s commitment is to put athletes at the center of operations.
“We thank Sports CS Amb. Amina Mohamed and the Principal Secretary Joe Okudo through the Ministry of Sports who have ensured we have settled into camp and preparations towards the Games are ongoing,” Maluki disclosed.
“The principal funding of the Commonwealth Games is by the Government. The budget has gone through the required process of approvals, with NOC-K ensuring that we take care of the Team’s crucial needs while remaining prudent,” Maluki added.
Team Kenya will run out against 71 countries and territories of the Commonwealth expected at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, at its 17th showpiece of the Games, come 28th July 2022.