Kenya: “We Did Not Carry Any Joyriders to Oregon,” Athletics Kenya Says

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Nairobi — Athletics Kenya (AK) has denied claims that the Team Kenya delegation to the World Championships in Oregon had 32 joyriders who obtained visa slots meant for athletes.

In a statement signed by AK president Jack Tuwei, the federation says it did everything above board to ensure only deserving officials were included in the travel list.

“To the best of our knowledge, only three government officials have travelled to Oregon for the 2022 World Athletics Championships. The Ministry has put in place a strict policy that ensures only officials with specific roles accompany teams out of the country, a responsibility entrusted to AK in a comprehensive brief from the Ministry,” the federation said.

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“AK expects the Cabinet Secretary to travel to the games as well and have scheduled meetings with Nike and World Athletics,” the federation added.

The response came amidst a national fury over a visa debacle that almost cost African 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala the chance to compete at the biennial competition.

Social media was ablaze over the weekend as Kenyans demanded the naming and shaming of the alleged 32 government officials who went at the expense of deserving athletes.

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However, AK now clarifies that only Omanyala’s visa was delayed due to an anomaly the sprinter made in his application.

“He went for a visa biometrics at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi on 7th July alongside other athletes. The rest were issued with visas a day later, but Omanyala’s passport was not released. When we inquired why, we were informed that he needed to fill in an application form referred to as supplementary questions for visa applicants to verify some facts,” the statement reads.

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“Neither the federation nor the ministry could intervene because this is a process that must be undertaken individually. We would like to recognize the efforts of Sports CS Amina Mohamed in engaging the US embassy to have the visa issued,” the federation added.

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