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Reduce budget for Tokyo games, CS Amina tells NOC-K

AYUMBA AYODIBy AYUMBA AYODI
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The government wants the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) to scale down on its budget for the Tokyo Olympic Games especially on funds allotted for the qualifying process.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said the government will evaluate and regulate before releasing the funds to the federations that are yet to qualify their athletes.

“I urge federations to present funding requests to the ministry in time to ensure processing during the qualifying rounds,” said Amina.

Amina was addressing participants when she opened a sports marketing workshop for NOC-K and its affiliates at the Hill Park Hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Amina’s move to scale down on the budget also comes days after she disclosed in Mombasa that she will review the Tokyo Games Steering Committee before publishing a new one basing on the disciplines that will have qualified.

The NOC-K General Assembly in November last year approved a Sh600 million budget for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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NOC-K president Paul Tergat disclosed that Sh250million would go towards preparations and qualification for the Summer Games.

The agency projects that Kenya could be represented by an estimated 100 athletes at the Tokyo Summer Games even though some 80 athletes have qualified.

Kenya was represented by 89 athletes—47 men and 42 women—at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the country spent an estimated Sh530 million. NOC-K treasurer Anthony Kariuki, who is attending the workshop, disclosed that they will now engage the federations as soon as possible with a view of scaling down the budgets for qualifications.

“The largest item in the budget was the qualification procedure where the government agreed to assist. We are going to re-look at the budget and rationalise it after engaging the federations. I believe we can something work out with them,” Kariuki said.

Boxing is among 12 federations that are yet to go through the respective Olympic qualification process. Others are karate, beach volleyball, judo, tae kwon-do, wrestling, badminton, cycling, table tennis, canoeing, weightlifting and archery.

Kenya has already qualified three teams events—men and women’s sevens rugby and women’s volleyball—while close to 30 athletes have already attained their Olympic qualifying times in athletics.

Amina congratulated Athletics Kenya, the Kenya Rugby Union, and the Kenya Volleyball Federation for qualifying 80 athletes for the Tokyo Olympics.

“We hope to qualify more athletes before the closure of the qualifying period,” said Amina, who assured of government’s full support to NOC-K, the Paralympic Committee and the participating teams.

Amina expressed her satisfaction that Kenya has scaled up the fight against doping in sport and, therefore, the government will continue supporting the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to support impromptu tests to guarantee a clean Kenyan Olympics contingent.