President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday hosted the victorious Beijing World and Cali Junior championships teams for breakfast at State House, Nairobi.
The two teams represented Kenya at the recent 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, and IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
President Kenyatta directed the Sports ministry to pay the Sh60 million outstanding allowances going back to 2013.
“I want the athletes and their officials to come here on Thursday next week and inform me whether their allowances have been paid,” the President said.
As a sign of appreciation to the triumphant athletes, President Kenyatta announced the Government’s cash prizes of Sh1 million for gold medalists, Sh500,000 for silver and Sh250,000 for bronze.
In addition, the President said the two teams will also take home Sh5 million each.
“All members of the teams played a role in bringing glory to the country and should be appreciated. For the medalists, your win is the win for the team, the country and all Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said.
The Beijing team beat the world’s sporting giants Jamaica, the US, defending champions Russia and China to top the medal table with seven gold, six silver and three bronze medals at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing last August.
Among the gold medal winners was Javelin sensation Julius Yego, who made history by winning the country its first major field event at the World Championships with a world record throw of 92.72m.
Also present was Olympic and world 3000m Steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, popularly known as “Baba Yao” in sports. He has won the steeplechase in the World Championships four times since 2009.
Kemboi, who is the team captain, said he is preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil next year.
“Only then, can I consider retirement,’’ he said at the breakfast meeting.
Other champions were Nicholas Bett, who gave Kenya its maiden 400m hurdles world title, David Rudisha who won the 800m race and Hyvin Jepkemoi who won 3,000m steeplechase women.
Some of the Beijing elite team were away in Europe for various engagements and did not make it to the breakfast meeting.
The younger team that participated at the Cali 2015 IAAF World Junior Championships emerged second overall with five gold, four silver and five bronze medals behind the US. More than 150 countries participated.
The performance of the athletes in the two championships proved to the world that Kenya is the undisputed athletic powerhouse.
The President said the Government and all Kenyans are proud of the teams’ achievements, adding that they have put Kenya on the world map and used sports to unite Kenyans.
President Kenyatta congratulated all sportsmen and women, saying their success reflects the dignity, resilience, focus, hard work and determination of all Kenyans.
“You have continuously proved to the world that Kenya is a sports powerhouse and despite the challenges you face, you have excelled,” the Head of State said.
On doping, President Kenyatta said the reputation of athletes and the country is at stake over alleged use of banned performance enhancement drugs.
He said “there are those who would want to use the vice to dismiss the prevalent talent in Kenya”.
But the President urged athletes not to fall into the trap and use their natural talent to remain at the top.
After breakfast, the President took photos with the athletes in groups and individuals.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario congratulated the athletes in both championships for their sterling performance.
“History was made in Beijing during the 2014-2015 sports year when Kenya, an African country, emerged on top of the world,” Mr Wario said.