Kenya will be represented by only four athletes at the Commonwealth Youth Games due July 18 to 23 in Nassau, Bahamas.
This is after the Ministry of Sports backed out of sponsoring the original team of 41 and instead committed all its resources towards next month’s World Under-18 Championships set for Nairobi.
The four athletes – two male and two female - will be accompanied by two officials to Nassau and will now be sponsored by the Commonwealth Games Federation and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock).
The four will be drawn from athletics, with Athletics Kenya expected to present the names to Nock.
In a letter addressed to Nock and dated June 2, 2017, Director of Administration in the Ministry of Sports, Haroun Komen, said the government is incapable of facilitating a team to Bahamas for the sixth edition of the Games.
CHANGE OF POSITION
“After due consideration and deliberations, I have been advised to inform you that we will not be in position to sponsor the team because most of resources have been committed to the World Under-18 Youth championships which Kenya is hosting,” Komen said in the letter to Nock, the national body responsible for the team’s participation at the Commonwealth Youth games.
“Subsequently, Kenya will not send a team to the Games.”
Initially, through another letter dated March 28, Mr Komen had told Nock that the government would provide tickets and allowances for the selected before the sudden change.
Kenya was to send teams to compete in rugby sevens, swimming, beach volleyball alongside athletics. Nock secretary general FK Paul accused the Ministry of Sports of “killing” the country’s future stars.
“It is quite unfortunate that the Sports Ministry does not want the youth to go and showcase their talent. We hope that they will not act in such a manner in future events,” Paul said in Nairobi on Tuesday during a presser.
Incidentally, the government also reneged on its promise to sponsor the team during the last edition held in Samoa from September 5 to 12, 2013. It took the efforts of Nock and Lotto to send a team of eight.
Kenya finished in ninth place out of 65, winning three gold and three silver.
The July 19-23 Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, which features athletics, boxing, judo, rugby sevens, swimming and tennis gets under way three days after the conclusion of the world under-18 track and field champs in Nairobi.