Unrest in Team Kenya camp as athletes reject kits, demand for allowances
Trouble is brewing in Team Kenya’s camp with barely 14 days left to the start of the 2018 Commonwealth Games set for Gold Coast, Australia.
This is after the athletes rejected the kits handed to them on Tuesday evening at Milele Hotel in South C, Nairobi noting that the most important items – training kit, running gear spikes, training and racing shoes – are yet to be provided yet they need to use them before the Games.
The athletes had been issued with backpacks, caps and ceremonial suits but they refused to sign up for the items, leaving the Nock officials with no option but to pack-up the items and head away.
Beside the kitting hitch, the athletes are unhappy with services rendered at the hotel. Unease is also building over unpaid allowances as the sportsmen maintain they have to be paid before they board the plane to Australia.
Citizen Digital has established that the kitting problem is so pronounced with the table tennis duo Brian Mutua and Thakkar Sejal receiving oversized kits.
One of the athletes who spoke to Citizen Digital in confidence said: “I really love representing the country, but if we don’t have any cash to ensure that our families will not suffer while we are away it tampers with us psychologically.
“There are guys who are in the team for the first time, they have zero kits and they are quiet because they do not know what goes on. I need to break the shoes before the competition begins but that is not going to happen since there are no spikes. We refused to take the bag and sign for it because we know once that is done we are not going to see anything.
The athletes are currently holed up in a crisis meeting with Athletics Kenya boss Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei.
However, in a rejoinder, Tuwei said: “Shoes are on the way but the spikes have not arrived.If not we shall find an alternative. It’s normal for training kits to come in batches. We also have to understand that Nock has been in office for only six months now. This is their first experience and we should be supportive. The president Paul Tergat personally went to their headquarters to oversee the process.”
For his part, Nock boss Paul Tergat called for patience as they address the issue
He said: “We urge for patience because the kits are coming in batches. The kit order was made by the previous office and all we can do is distribute the kits as they come. We have spoken with the athletes, their issues are genuine and we have addressed them. They will also receive their allowances by Friday.”