President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Kenyan team to the African Games to make the country proud through excellent and disciplined performances.
The President who spoke when he handed the team the national flag at State House, Nairobi, wished the Kenyan contingent success at 12th African Games in Morocco.
“Mine today is just to ask that as you proceed to Morocco, represent us with pride, with excellence, with discipline and show Kenya for what it truly is because you are without a doubt that bright shining star that Kenya is,” the President told the team that was accompanied by Sports CS Amina Mohamed and her PS Amb Peter Kaberia.
He commended the country’s sportsmen and women for putting the country’s profile on the global map through their outstanding performances.
“As much as we talk about Kenya being known, Kenya has been put on the map by our athletes and by our sportsmen and women and that’s you,” the President said.
“Make us proud. We shall pray for you and we shall be glued to our television screens as you challenge the rest of the continent and prove why Kenya is the pride of Africa,” he added.
President Kenyatta advised the team of 234 athletes to be disciplined, patriotic and to uphold team spirit so as to succeed in the competition.
“We ask you to be disciplined, we ask you to be patriotic, we ask you to be team players because there is a difference between an individual athlete and a team. As an individual, you can win but your win will not be as successful as when your team wins. Do your part, train hard, be focused, play fair and play clean,” the President counselled.
The Head of State assured Kenya’s sports fraternity that his administration has addressed most of the challenges that faced the industry in the past, citing the example of the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund that he established to ensure sportsmen and women get the resources and assistance that they require.
He warned against the mismanagement of the Shs 335 million allocated to the Kenyan team to Morocco saying stern actions will be taken against those who will be tempted.
Sports CS Amb Amina Mohamed said the 234 athletes have been drawn from 22 disciplines out of which 4 are team sports while 18 are individual sports.
“For the first time, 17 of these disciplines will serve as the Tokyo Olympic games 2020 qualifiers. That is why we are so expectant from the team that is going to Morocco,” the CS said.
She pointed out that the team to the 12th African games is the largest and most diverse the country has ever presented at continental games.
Amb Mohamed informed the President that the Kenyan beach volleyball team will tonight play a semi-final game against Nigeria.
Team captain Julius Yego exuded confidence that the Kenyan contingent will perform well at the competition and once again make Kenya proud.
“We are happy, we are ready and we promise that as we go to Morocco we will hoist the Kenyan flag high,” he said.
Yego, an African and Commonwealth record holder in javelin, thanked the government for the reforms that have streamlined the sporting industry and improved the welfare of athletes.
Others who spoke included Sports PS Amb Kaberia and Chef De Mission of the team Ndiritu Gikaria who said the reforms being implemented in the sector are key to creating opportunities for the Kenyan youth.