Kenya to train as planned in Japan ahead of Tokyo Games
NAIROBI, June 4, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Kenya said Friday its preparations for Tokyo would go ahead as planned and blamed a “misunderstanding” for Olympic officials believing their Japanese hosts had cancelled the team’s pre-Games training camp.
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) announced earlier this week that the Japanese city of Kurume has withdrawn from hosting the Kenyan team for a two-week training camp due an upsurge of coronavirus infections in the city.
But the mayor of Kurume denied this ever occurred, with Japanese officials in Nairobi saying the matter had been “erroneously reported”.
“The City of Kurume has and will continue to conduct thorough preparations to receiving the Kenyan athletes in the beginning of July,” said Yoko Onishi, director of the Japanese Information and Culture Centre at the Embassy of Japan in Nairobi.
NOCK secretary Francis Mutuku said the matter had indeed been clarified following a meeting between Kenya’s sports minister and the Japanese ambassador to Kenya.
“We’re happy the issue has been resolved and we will keep on with our Olympic training programme as planned. There seemed to have a misunderstanding of the information between us and Kurume,” he said.
“The preparations will go on locally before the team’s departure on July 5 for Kurume.”
On Tuesday, NOCK said Kenya’s pre-Games schedule had suffered “a big setback” after Kurume city officials said its sporting facilities had been taken over and were being utilised as vaccination centres.
Kenya, a world athletics powerhouse, finished 15th and as the top African nation at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, with a total of 13 medals: six gold, six silver and one bronze.
The East African nation is planning to send 100 athletes to Tokyo, with the final squad to be announced following the national athletics trials scheduled for June 17-18 in Nairobi.