The 21st Commonwealth Games ended yesterday in Gold Coast, Australia, with Team Kenya getting 17 medals — four gold, seven silver and seven bronze — to finish 14th overall out of 71 teams.
That was below expectations, especially in athletics, rugby and boxing.
It was, simply, Kenya’s worst-ever showing since the 1982 Brisbane (Australia), where it got 10 medals (4, 2, 4), with boxing bagging three gold.
The Gold Coast debacle washes away the performance at the 2010 Delhi and 2014 Glasgow games, where Kenya topped the medal table standings in athletics to be in the top 10 overall.
Out of 16 disciplines, the Gold Coast medals were from athletics — save for boxer Christine Ong’are’s historic bronze in the women’s flyweight.
For success in such a big sporting event, the government, sports federations and corporate bodies should pull together.
Countries such as Australia and England perform well since their respective governments have invested heavily in sports and plan well.
In Kenya, however, the government only comes in at the team’s departure and not during the preparations.
Lack of transparency and accountability in sports federations, poor selection and a boycott by elite athletes and favouritism have been witnessed.
Athletes don’t need to go on strike or await presidential directives to have their meagre allowances paid.