Kenya to send a contingent of over 80 athletes to 2020 Tokyo Games

Kenya will send at least 80 sportsmen to next year’s Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

It will represent an increase from the 67 athletes who represented the country at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

While addressing reporters on Monday, Game’s Chef de mission Waithaka Kioni revealed that at least 45 athletes have already qualified for the showpiece consisting of two swimmers, 28 track and field athletes and the national rugby women team- the Lionesses.

Other teams awaiting qualifications are: the national women football team (Harambee Starlets), national rugby sevens team (Shujaa), national women volleyball team (Malkia Strikers), boxing team as well as the track and field athletes whose selection is expected to conclude next year June.

With only 10 months remaining to the summer Games, it is now a race against time for the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) to prepare the respective teams for the global show piece.

“Despite the various challenges we are facing we are focused on Tokyo 2020. We are now engaging with the respective federations in order to finalise on their qualification process with our main objective being to get the best athletes,” said Kioni.

While Nock will provide kitting for the teams, each federation will be financed by the ministry in their qualifications.

“We will be meeting with all the federations on Wednesday as we finalise on our budget estimates. We have directed all the federations to forward their qualification budgets to the ministry for them to be financed by the national sports fund,’’ said Nock treasurer Eliud Kariuki.

On the same breadth, Nock has outlined that athletes who will be selected to represent the country will be subjected to rigorous anti-doping tests prior to the competition.

Athletics Kenya Nairobi branch chairman Barnabas Korir will serve us general team manager while Humphrey Kayange and Ahmed Swahib will both deputise Kioni.

Meanwhile, Nock acting secretary general Francis Mutuku has explained why they settled for Kurume City for training prior to the competition.

“We have held talks with the leadership of the city (Kurume) and we expect to sign agreement next year February. In the partnership we are entitled to free transport, accommodation as well training facilities,” said Mutuku.

Tokyo Games will be held on July 24- August 9.

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