Mountain racing trials halted on court orders

A tug of war has ensued between Athletics Kenya (AK) and former marathoner Jacob Yator who has turned to court seeking to have the inaugural National Mountain Racing trials halted.

The local athletics body which had scheduled trials for April 28, in Longonot, for World Mountain racing Championships slated for September 16 in Canillo, Andorra, was served with a court order on Friday 27, evening, supported by the affidavit of Yator.

“Pending interparties hearing of this application, a temporary injunction be and is hereby issued restraining the defendant whether acting by themselves, their servants and /or agents or anybody or authority from hosting/conducting a running event titled under the name and style of Kenya Mountain Running Championships scheduled to be held on April 28 at Longonot within Naivasha of the Republic of Kenya,” the Nairobi’s Millimani Law Courts ordered as it scheduled a hearing for May 11 before senior resident Magistrate, Hon D.O Mbeja.

Professional Athletics Association of Kenya(PAAK) Nairobi branch secretary, Julius Ndegwa accused AK of ‘malice’ over hurried registration of the event yet he and 11 other associate had registered it as Kenya Mountain Racing Association(KMRA).

“The reason why we stopped it is because they wanted to sabotage our race. They started getting interested in the race after writing to them requesting for a Certificate of registration. They got interested in the discipline and took us in circles. They went behind our backs to register it as their own and hurriedly organized a race in two weeks in order to counter ours,” said Ndegwa.

When asked about hurting the interests of the athletes they represent as PAAK in their quest for ‘justice’, Ndegwa told Citizen Digital, that every Kenyan has a right of being in as many associations as possible and that the interests of PAAK and Kenya Mountain Racing Association are independent.

He further went on to claim that they have a certificate to prove their legitimacy and could not be made to the public.

Defending 2017 World Mountain Racing champion Lucy Wamboi expressed disappointments by ‘Kenya Mountain Racing Association’ stating that she had cancelled a race in Germany in order to book her place in Team Kenya.

“I feel very sad, why did they have to stop the race at the last minute. I cancelled my plane ticket a race in Germany because I really wanted to be in Team Kenya, I was supposed to compete this Sunday. It’s now too late to confirm my participation.

“I’m in good shape and I wish I did not call off my race because there is lack of patriotism in this cancellation, it makes me feel disappointed as a Kenyan,” Wamboi Lamented.

AK Nairobi branch chairman Barnaba Korir, was not a happy man with the last minute development, pointing out that the move was self-centered and thoughtless to the athletes like Wamboi who started their preparations in January.

“You cannot just stop a race just like that and it is very inconsiderate to the athletes. You cannot interfere with a legit body that is recognized the IAAF and the Government and organizes national events for the athletes’. Ndegwa and his colleagues have nothing to lose because they do not run they are just serving their own interest if they want to do business they should it elsewhere we cannot allow that,” said an irked Korir.

The National Youth Chairman urged the mother federation to come up with prudent measures to deal with cartels threatening cripple athletics activities in the country.

“The athletes do a lot to prepare for these races; they spend all they have to go for these races for a chance to be among the best. They go to a point of even borrowing transport and making ends meet with accommodation. Then you tell them that the race they had worked for months on has been cancelled? That is not acceptable! People must learn how to deal with their personal issues instead of inconveniencing others in the process. There are right procedures to be followed,” charged Korir.

His sentiments were shared by other athletics stakeholders as they condemned ‘KMRA’ who allegedly claim to have been given a certificate of registration by the Sports Registrar, a fact AK has vehemently denied.

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