Government officials who went to inspect the team’s pre-Olympic training camp on Wednesday were welcomed by an unhappy team, boiling with a myriad of complaints including harassment.
The team which said athletes were still owed money for past successes, called for better pay for the medical staff at the camp in Eldoret. They also tore into the conduct of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), accusing its officials of unprofessionalism.
“These people came in the morning from anti-doping, I wish there was an observer, let’s say someone who was tasked to observe, the way the things were done today. It was not professional as it is supposed to be because right now we are in a journey of clearing our name, so if we are in a journey of clearing our name and it is not done as professional as its supposed to be,” said Wesley Korir, the Olympic team captain.
Korir dramatically berated the visiting VIPs, accusing the government and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) officials of incompetence as fellow athletes applauded.
“We are not prisoners, we have with our mouth the right to say our issues, so next time if you want us to say something and if you want us to perform, and if you want these people to perform, you should make a plan,” he said.
“I’ve been an athlete for many years and interacting with the teams when I was not part of them. Now I’m in the team and all the complaints they have always had, I am now experiencing. So as a leader I won’t shut up. I will say it. And if you don’t want to give us a chance then we can figure out other ways of sending the information so that people can be able to hear us because we have our voices too,” Korir said told the visiting delegation.
The complaints come on the heels of the World-Anti Doping Agency’s declaration on Kenya’s non- compliance with its code. As a result, Kenyan athletes looking forward to compete in the Rio Games are expected to undergo extra tests.
Sports Minister Hassan Wario told the athletes that Kenya is also investigating newspaper allegations that doctors from the country supplied prohibited performance enhancing drugs to British athletes at high-altitude camps.
The government has however dismissed the accusations of unprofessionalism describing them as unfounded.