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Shame as sprints coach John Anzrah expelled from Rio

Friday August 12 2016

From left: Coaches Julius Kirwa, John Anzrah and John Mwithiga inspect the equipment inside a gym at High Performance Training Centre, Kazi Mingi Farm in Eldoret on July 4, 2016. PHOTO |  JARED NYATAYA |

From left: Coaches Julius Kirwa, John Anzrah and John Mwithiga inspect the equipment inside a gym at High Performance Training Centre, Kazi Mingi Farm in Eldoret on July 4, 2016. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

STEVE OMONDI
By STEVE OMONDI
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IN RIO DE JANEIRO

The Kenyan camp at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was struggling to save face as the track and field events began on Friday in the wake of an administrative fiasco that has seen two senior officials of the team sent home.

Sprints coach John Anzrah on Thursday became the second Kenyan official to be kicked out of the Games after being caught up in an identity goof that saw him being compelled to give urine samples for testing.

Ideally, all athletes and officials here at the Olympics are entitled to accreditation cards that grants them access to specific areas including the Olympic Village, training venues and dining areas within the village.

Other than the athletes and the officials, media attaches are also holders of similar accreditation.

But the Kenyan delegation’s side of the story has been that having exceeded their allotted number of 36 officials across all disciplines allowed to be at the Olympic Village at any given time some officials have had to be booked in hotels as they await to fill up the positions of officials returning home after completing their task here.

According to Kenya’s Chef de Mission Stephen Soi, Anzrah, who was among three athletics coaches booked in a hotel after their arrival here earlier in the week, accessed a dining area after using the accreditation card belonging to 800m runner Fergusson Rotich.

But unknown to him, doping officials trailed him and demanded to take his urine sample as the holder of the accreditation card holder.

Soi subsequently expelled the coach from the camp, his confession and admission to the mistake notwithstanding.

“It is a stupid thing really for a coach of his experience to be found in possession of an athlete’s accreditation possibly because he wanted to access an area that he may not have had access to because his credentials as a team official did not allow him. Who does that any way?” Soi was quoted by the media here.

This came just days after Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Hassan Wario had ordered for the expulsion of team manager, Michael Rotich after German TV ARD aired a story alleging he was involved a scheme to assist athletes and coaches evade doping.

The two officials may bear the brunt for these two embarrassing incidents that have given Kenya unwanted negativity publicity at the Olympics, but what is now emerging is that there is more to the circumstances surrounding their expulsions.

The Kenyan camp has been riddled with administrative fiasco that has seen officials unable to effectively concentrate on their core responsibility of preparing the team for the task at hand.

KEPT RISING

But all these may have started long before the Kenyan team arrived here.

According to this source, the final few days to the Olympic Games saw a great deal of jostling by Senators and other senior government officials for extra accreditation slots even after an initial quota of four legislators allotted by National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) had been exceeded.

Among the Senators that were meant to travel to Rio for the Olympics Games were four of the six members of the Standing Committee for Labour and Social Welfare comprising, the chair Isaac Melly (Uasin Gishu), Steward Madzayo (Kilifi), Martha Wangari (Nominated), John Munyes (Turkana), Muriuki Karue (Nyandarua), Agnes Zani (Nominated), and Joy Gwendo (Nominated).

Only four slots had been allotted for these senators wishing to travel to Brazil, the source confirmed.

“There are only limited slots available, yet everyone of them wants to travel to Brazil,” the source said.

According to the source, who can’t be quoted because of the sensitivity of the matter, the legislators were travelling to Brazil with the aim of picking important tips ahead of Kenya hosting the East Africa Inter-Parliamentary Games in Mombasa in December.

In Rio, the number of legislators has kept rising by the day with Member of Parliament for Webuye West Constituency, Dan Wanyama - who is former volleyball player - having been spotted by Kenyan journalists on Wednesday on the precincts of the Olympic Village where he had gone to pick his accreditation.

Among the latest arrivals here is MP for Lunga Lunga, Khatib Abdallah Mwashetani, who was part of the delegation that arrived in the Brazilian city on Thursday evening with the Deputy President Willaim Ruto.

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