No respite: Problems everywhere for Kenya at the Olympics
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The problems are stacking up for Kenya at the Olympics: A new doping scandal, ineligible athletes, missing plane tickets, and now bad blood between the track and field federation and the national Olympic committee.
And their top athletes haven't even set foot on the track in Rio de Janeiro.
Athletics Kenya on Monday blamed the Kenyan Olympic committee for the travel problems that left javelin world champion Julius Yego without a plane ticket to Rio and caused other frustrated athletes, including 1,500-meter world champion Asbel Kiprop, to book their own flights and travel separately.
"Any confusion ... with athletes' travel is solely a mistake of NOCK," AK said in a statement.
The problems between the two bodies followed news on Sunday that Kenya was sending track and field team manager Michael Rotich home to face a police investigation after allegations he told undercover reporters that he could give athletes advance warning about doping tests in exchange for money.
Also, Kenya was forced to withdraw its men's 4x400-meter relay team, high jumper Mathew Sawe, and 200-meter runner Calvin Nkanata from the Olympics because they weren't eligible. It was discovered that the relay team and Sawe hadn't met qualifying standards, while Nkanata wasn't properly registered as Kenyan with the IOC. Nkanata travels on a U.S. passport but holds Kenyan nationality.
"NOCK has had his papers since March, reconfirmed his travel and received his accreditation or lack of it," AK said, again blaming Olympic committee officials. "Why did they not cross-check his accreditation?"
Yego, Kenya's first world champion in a field event, initially complained about the Olympic travel schedule given to his coach, who was only booked to be in Rio de Janeiro for four days and was due to leave before the javelin final. When Yego arrived at the airport in Kenya to depart for the Olympics this weekend, he didn't have a plane ticket. He was eventually given a temporary ticket and was allowed to travel.
Kenyan track and field has also been hit hard by problems in the buildup to the Rio Games, mostly related to doping. On Sunday, there was another scandal, this time involving the manager of the track team.
Rotich was ordered to return home after he was trapped in a sting by reporters from Britain's The Sunday Times newspaper. The paper said Rotich offered to provide the reporters, who were posing as coaches, advance warning of doping tests in return for a 10,000 pound ($13,000) bribe.