Kenya’s embassy in Tokyo has implored the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) officials to fast-track preparations for next year’s Tokyo Olympics and avoid last-minute gremlins that often devour the hunt for medals.
Ambassador Solomon Maina and his deputy Paul Kaliih on Friday noted that the Japanese are moving with lightning speed to ready themselves for the July 24 to August 9 Games, and there is no room for error.
“The Kenyan embassy is already engaging in ‘Host City Project’ cultural activities, like the “Kenya Week”, because the Japanese are keen on establishing a permanent bond with nations that will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics so that there can be sports and cultural exchanges even after the Olympics,” Maina explained.
“We need good and early co-ordination to avoid errors like those witnessed at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016,” he added.
The ambassador confirmed that Nock had cemented plans for Team Kenya’s pre-games training camp at Kurume City on Japan’s Kyushu island.
“Two years ago, officials from the Olympic committee visited three or four sites and settled for Kurume. It’s good to make these early preparations,” he noted.
Kaliih recently toured construction works at the Athletes’ Village and various competition venues as part of an inspection visit organised for Tokyo-assigned diplomats.
“The progress is great and there are no white elephants. Because, for example, some venues will have their capacity reduced after the games while the Athletes’ Village will develop into a housing project for the people of Tokyo,” the deputy head of mission explained.
Countries neighbouring Japan have already been assigned berths to dock cruise ships which will be used for accommodation by these countries to temporarily increase Tokyo’s bed capacity during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The two diplomats Friday night met with Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei who is leading the Kenyan delegation to the Yokohama relays with a view to firming up further preparations for the Tokyo Games.
Maina further noted that sport has been included on the programme of this year’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VII) which will be hosted in Yokohama from August 28 to 30. It follows Kenya’s successful hosting of the TICAD VI summit in 2016.