London 2012: Kenyans to investigate poor track showing

Reuters, Tuesday 14 Aug 2012

Kenya finished 28th in the overall medal table with two gold, four silver and five bronze medals


Kenyan authorities are frustrated that foreign athletes who train in the country turned the tables on the east African nation, whose disappointing track and field performance at the London Olympics has kicked off a storm of protest back home.

Kenya finished 28th in the overall medal table with two gold, four silver and five bronze medals, compared with 13th in Beijing four years ago when they won six gold, four silver and four bronze.

Their only two golds this time came from Ezekiel Kemboi in the 3,000 metres steeplechase and David Rudisha with his world record run in the 800m.

Mo Farah, the British double Olympic distance champion and Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich, who won the men's marathon, train at the Iten High Altitude Training Centre near Eldoret, known as the world's capital of distance running.

Kiprotich is managed by Dutch company Global Sports Management, which also looks after Kenyan Asbel Kirui who came second in the marathon.

"You could see they were talking during the race. They were behaving as if you are helping their Ugandan rival in an Olympic race," said Kenya's Minister for Sport, Dr Paul Otuoma, who has been in London since the Games started on July 27.

He said an independent committee would be set up when the team returned home on Wednesday to give a report on why the performance was poorer than expected.

"It was a fiasco. The performance was terrible," Otuoma told Reuters at his London hotel a day after the Games ended.

The Minister said once the report is out, the recommendations would be implemented.

"I want a thorough audit of all sections so that we implement the recommendations and begin work for Rio 2016 now," said the minister.

Kip Keino, head of the country's National Olympic Committee, cited technical flaws in the team that might have affected their performance.

He said they were not properly prepared for the fast-finishes of the longer races, in which they often lost out during the Games.

"The coaches did not take them through the required intervals, which could have sharpened their sprint power," he said.

He also blamed the performance on late arrivals in Britain, saying due to weather differences athletes needed to come earlier to adjust to the local conditions.

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