Wednesday marks exactly one year to the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Japan, with ceremonies planned worldwide to celebrate the landmark date.
Some 11,090 athletes will compete in 33 different sports at the July 24-August 9 Olympics and a further 4,400 across 22 disciplines at the subsequent August 25-September 6 Paralympics.
The massive “Tokyo 2020” festival will be held at 43 venues, 18 of them outside the capital, posing huge logistical challenges to the organisers and competitors alike.
That means early preparations are imperative for the competing nations, a fact the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Noc-K) must absorb in earnest.
Thankfully, Noc-K has already identified Kurume City in Fukuoka Prefecture for Kenya’s pre-Olympics camp, although not all federations seem in sync with this choice.
This means it must convene an urgent stakeholders’ conference to agree on the venue and also ensure all affiliate federations are on track with their qualifying competitions.
It must also ensure that all Olympics-bound athletes have training and competition equipment well in advance and are well financed for these important Games.
Travel bookings must also be secured early, given the huge pressure on flights ahead of the Games, making them expensive.
Kenya’s traditional over-reliance on track and field for medals can only be broken through proper, early preparations. Today’s landmark date should, therefore, serve as a wake-up call.
Lastly, we hope the ghosts of Kenya’s erratic appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics will be exorcised through prudent preparations, free of any malfeasance.
Poor preparations, sheer incompetence by officials and lack of financial fidelity cost Kenya dearly in Brazil and we hope those in charge will learn from the mistakes.