Team Kenya Olympians were on Friday united in what they said was “challenging 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games” made bearable by rare synergy between the government, the National Olympic Committee and corporates.
The Olympians said these during a gala organised by NOCK and Team Kenya partners East African Breweries Limited (EABL) at the famous Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi, before the party moves to Eldoret on Thursday.
Kenya finished top of the medal standings in Africa and 19th out 206 countries with 10 medals (4 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze) despite the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Rugby Sevens star Collins Injera, Malkia Strikers captain Mercy Moim, boxer Nick Okoth speaking on behalf of the athletes said they were humbled by the almost flawless organization, which had been lacking in previous Games.
“What the government and NOCK have shown us is that everything can be done and in a good way. It is for this reason that we thank the government for sponsoring and facilitating us from training up to the Olympics.
“We also thank the NOC-K office for giving us what we wanted like kit, and enabling us to compete at the Olympics, we have never had such an ample preparation before and we don’t take it for granted,” Moim, who was one of the Team Kenya Captain for Tokyo 2020 Games.
“On behalf of the ladies who competed at the Olympics, we are grateful that we made it and did our best, we were more than men and we did well, I challenge them to continue with the same momentum,” she said while drumming up for a female president of the NOCK when Paul Tergat exits the stage.
Former IRB Sevens top try scorer Injera said: “On behalf of the athletes, I thank the Ministry of Sports, NOC-K, sponsors EABL. It was a difficult time preparing for the Olympics owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but everything was made possible from the early training camp. We were given all the kits that we needed both training and competition and we appreciate a lot.”
Team Kenya to Tokyo Olympics Chef de Mission, Waithaka Kioni said: “ I thank the sponsor, the federations for preparing athletes, thank you all, I thank the government for the support they have given us.”
NOCK President Paul Tergat congratulated the Olympians and called on more corporate sponsors to join them so as to continue serving the athletes better.
“I appreciate everyone especially our athletes for making this possible. From when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed, these athletes have braved a difficult time owing to the COVID-19 pandemic to train well during preparations,” Tergat said.
“As a leader of this team, we were at the edge and sometimes we didn’t know we could have these games, but in the end we had them and ended well. I was crossing fingers that the Covid-19 test the athletes were subjected to every day, no one from Team Kenya tested positive.”
“I thank the athletes for the discipline they displayed at the Olympics. We are here to celebrate the achievements of our athletes against over 200 counties globally, we were able to match victories and we walked tall in Africa,” Tergat stated.
During the event attended by all the sports stakeholders, the six federations that sent athletes to Tokyo namely Athletics, Rugby, Volleyball, Swimming, Boxing and Taekwondo federations were appreciated as well as the media that was embedded in Team Kenya.
Number of medals (4 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze) Team Kenya won at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
United are fourth in the league standings on 13 points on goal difference, one point behind leaders Liverpool.