|World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, has lauded an initiative led by National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) and Athletics Kenya(AK), of checking the progress of various athletes in camps across the country, ahead of the Olympics.
Kipchoge while speaking in Eldoret during the visit by NOCK President Paul Tergat and his team to check on Olympic preparations, as well as issue scholarship cheques to runners, hailed the move by the two athletic stakeholder bodies for keeping tabs on individual sportsmen especially a head of international assignments.
“The visit from NOC-K and AK is an opportunity to know the full recipe of an athlete’s life at camps, and this will enable you all to understand the necessary support required by athletes. ’He noted.
The 36-year-old will headline Kenyan marathon squad for the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Olympics, now scheduled to take place in 2021 hoping to defend his title from Rio 2016 after making history to become the first man to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna, Austria in 2019.
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Tergat on the other hand reassured the athletes that they are at the heart of the Olympic organization further reiterating his main priority of advocating for the welfare of athletes.
‘’There is nothing that gives us more joy as a Board than seeing our athletes succeed. We want to assure you that we will work together as stakeholders, to ensure that all athletes are well prepared for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. We are pursuing all available opportunities to support our athletes, including scholarships such as the ones we are issuing to you today. We are also encouraging all athletes to think about the future and visualize what you will do after you retire. ’He asserted.
Among those awarded the scholarship included former world javelin champion Julius Yego who remains optimistic of winning Kenya’s first ever Olympic gold since the inception of the games.
The reigning Commonwealth champion has intensified his preparations despite dynamics brought about by the pandemic which affected his training routine.
“Thank you NOC-K for considering me for this scholarship, I promise, I will seriously train to win a medal at the Olympic games”. Yego affirmed.
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya has continued with its program of issuance of scholarships from various organizations including the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) to Kenyan athletes in a bid to boost their preparations a head of Tokyo 2020 Olympics games that were postponed to 2021 following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
NOCK announced its plan to send a record 100 athletes to this year’s extravaganza with an expectation to enhance a higher medal haul than ever before.
Kenya took a record 89 athletes in seven sports to the Rio 2016 Games, winning their best medal haul to date with six gold, six silver and one bronze medal.