Athletics Kenya and Kenya Tae-Kwon-Do Federation (KTF) Sunday protested after their quotas for the African Games were slashed owing to funds.
AK senior vice president Paul Mutwii said they were given an allocation of 104 athletes and six officials but that figure has now been scaled down to 75.
The 12th edition of African Games are slated for August 19 to 31 in Rabat, Morocco where athletics calendar will run from August 26-27.
"In fact we took 96 athletes and officials to camp and telling us to scale it down when we didn't even surpass the quota is unacceptable," said Mutwii adding that if push comes to shove they shall withdraw the team all together from the African Games.
Mutwii explained that they held their trials based on the quota given and a steering committee that was chaired by the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed approved the allocation given.
“They should have scaled down the numbers before the trials. Right now we don't know who to drop or retain,” said Mutwii. “How will you tell the athletes and officials that they have been dropped and on what grounds?” he posed.
Mutwii said that they have had so many problems in camp that they don't want them aggravated further with actions that won’t inspire the team.
“We have written to the Ministry of Sports expressing our disappointment and the need to have those selected head to Rabat,” said Mutwii.
Uncontrollable scenes marked the Tae-Kwon-Do team naming when some of the four exponents dropped broke down in tears based on the new quota.
KTF president Suleiman Sumba termed it unfortunate when he shortlisted a squad of six exponents each in men and women’s teams while axing two players from each team.
Those axed from the men’s teams are Francis Ngugi (finweight) from Shofco, Nairobi and Kibabii University’s Innocent Wafula (middleweight).
Migori’s Emily Anyango (welterweight) and Kibabii University’s Edna Sichangi (flyweight) were dropped from the women’s team. Kibabii University has provided the bulk of the team with three players making the women’s team and two in men.
When reached for comment, the games chief executive officer Charles Nyaberi said they have been forced to whittle down some of the teams owing to a reduced budget but promised to review athletics and Tae-Kwon-Do cases.
While protesting the decision by the games’ management to scale down their quota, Sumba said that they had invested over Sh25 million in the team to have them prepare and train well for the African games.
Sumba noted that the players were part of the squad of 58 players that participated in Rwanda Genocide Memorial in May and the specialised training camp in Cairo in July where they were under some of the best coaches in the world including renowned Captain Fahim.
“Surely, the government can’t be doing these to these athletes when they have sacrificed a lot with their universities and teams raising funds to have them prepare,” said Sumba. “These games come after four years and people need to understand.”
Sumba said that African Games will be crucial since players will accrue points that will enable them qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. “The management is handling these games casually yet they mean the world to my players,” said Sumba.
Stephen Odhiambo (fly) Kibabii University, Collins Khayemba (bantam) Kibabii University, Sean Michael Mugo (feather) Strathmore University, Japheth Ngolo (light) Homabay, Vincent Dock (welter) Kisumu, Brian Nyore (heavy) Police
Elizabeth Njogu (fin) Kibabii University), Beatrice Mwange (bantam) Menengai, Nakuru, Mary Muriu (feather) Waithaka, Milka Akinyi (light) Safari Park, Evelyne Aluoch (middle) Kibabii University, Faith Ogallo (heavy) Kibabii University