Athletics legend Tergat to vie for post of Kenya's Olympic chief

Indo Asian News Service

Nairobi, March 30 (IANS) Athletics legend Paul Tergat has thrown his hat into the ring and will be vying to lead Kenya's Olympic committee in the national election scheduled for May 5.

Tergat, a two time Olympic silver medallist, has unveiled his plans saying that he no longer sees the current team as the best to carry the country forward. The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) is currently headed by another legend Kipchoge Keino, reports Xinhua news agency.

"I have worked hard to represent this great country at international championships against all odds. I have earned my spot and I believe the time has finally come for me to take the mantle and lead our sports to greater success," said Tergat here on Thursday.

Tergat, who is also a five-time World Cross Country champion, said he will focus on the welfare of the athletes and all sportsmen.

"I want to take a big role in leading our sports. We have good talent, but they need to be mentored and guided properly and that will be a challenge I am ready to take," he said.

However, Tergat will not be facing a simple battle. If his battle with Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie on the track is anything to go by, then the duel with Keino will be brutal.

The former world marathon record holder (2.04.54) will bring in new inputs in the management of sports in the country and work hard on improving the performance of Kenya on the global stage.

Kenya was placed fifth overall at the last Olympics in Rio winning seven medals, all from athletics.

However, Tergat has pledged to diversify his support to other disciplines in order to increase Kenya's competitiveness at the Olympics.

He hopes his candidacy will bring unity in the sports industry, improve cohesion and regain athletes trust on management of their affairs, which has been lacking.

"I have watched from the periphery as the management of NOCK has struggled and mishandled the affairs of our sportsmen. At times, I have played a peripheral role just to ensure that the interests of athletes are taken care of. I want a central role to be in charge and direct this country forward," said Tergat.

His announcement comes just days after NOCK incumbent officials, under pressure, agreed to adopt a new constitution fronted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to avoid a ban.