Kenya sacks Olympics organising committee with athletes still stranded in Rio days after end of Games

‘The best team in Africa, second best all over the world in athletics, and this is how they treat us’

Adam Withnall
Africa Correspondent
Thursday 25 August 2016 12:29
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Team captain Wesley Korir says this is the view from the athletes’ new accommodation, after they were kicked out of the Olympic Village
Team captain Wesley Korir says this is the view from the athletes’ new accommodation, after they were kicked out of the Olympic Village

The Kenyan government has disbanded the country’s Olympics organising committee and ordered an urgent probe into its shambolic handling of Rio 2016.

Kenya’s team captain, who is also an MP, took to Twitter on Thursday in exasperation at the treatment of his fellow athletes, the most successful African team at the Games.

Wesley Korir, a marathon runner, said athletes were forced to move into shanty accommodation after the official Olympic Village closed, with athletes from other countries already long gone.

He said the National Olympic Committee (NOC) had decided to leave the athletes in Rio an extra four days after the end of the Games because they went online to "look for cheap flights".

By contrast, Team GB’s athletes were taken back to the UK on a gold-nosed, charted BA jumbo jet flight renamed "victoRIOus", accompanied by 77 bottles of champagne.

Kenya’s sports secretary, Hassan Wario, announced on Thursday that he was sacking the NOC and transferring its duties to Sports Kenya.

Mr Wario said he had also formed a team of investigators to look into what went wrong in Rio, ordering them to report back by 30 September.

Accusations of NOC mismanagement have emerged throughout the two weeks of events in Rio, particularly after the country’s marathon gold medallist, Eliud Kipchoge, was left visibly frustrated when he couldn’t find a water station to rehydrate during the race.

But in his tweets, Korir said he was still unable to speak to Mr Wario to raise his concerns over the phone.

"The best team in Africa and the second best all over the world in athletics and this is how they treat us," he wrote.

Describing the new accommodation, he said: "There has been gunshots heard all night... messages being sent for athletes to stay indoors."

According to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, some Kenyan athletes who have made their way home with their own arrangements have refused to participate in welcome events organised by the government, as a form of silent protest.

One, who was not named, told the paper: "We don’t want people to hog publicity from our arrival when they have treated us badly."

Korir tweeted: "Athletes are told they are here to be seen and not to be heard!!"

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