Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Marathon champ to head Kenyan Olympic committee

AFP, NAIROBI

Paul Tergat gives the thumbs up in Nairobi on Friday, after he was elected president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

Photo: AFP

Former marathon world record holder Paul Tergat on Friday was named president of Kenya’s strife-hit Olympic committee, hoping to end months of controversy and infighting.

“Since Paul Tergat is unopposed, he is now the new president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya,” said Omweri Angima, an independent referee appointed to oversee the Kenya elections by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Tergat, a double Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, former marathon world record holder and five-time world cross-country champion announced his candidacy in March.

The 48-year-old hopes to revive and renew the scandal-hit National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) which was rocked by corruption and mismanagement during Kenya’s appearance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil last year and has had its IOC funding frozen over governance concerns.

Kenya’s reputation for producing world beating distance runners has also taken a knock thanks to a series of doping scandals. Kenya finally established its anti-doping agency earlier this year.

Nevertheless, in April Kenya’s Rio Olympic marathon gold medalist Jemima Sumgong was suspended after testing positive for the banned substance erythropoietin — known as EPO — in an out-of-competition test.

“I want to thank the International Olympic Committee for the unwavering support to our country in this long transition when we were faced with a lot of challenges and crisis,” Tergat said. “This day marks another milestone and the calling of a new start in Kenya’s sport aided with values of integrity, responsibility, governance, accountability and transparency.”

Several Kenyan athletics officials were charged with various offenses after last year’s Olympics, including stealing team uniforms.

Former NOCK chief Kipchoge Keino, who ran the committee for nearly 20 years and was heavily criticized over Rio, did not attempt to keep his seat leaving Tergat the only candidate for the post.

Friday’s elections were postponed from May.

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