World Cross country legend Paul Tergat has been elected unopposed as the President of Kenya’s National Olympic Committee (NOCK). Although unopposed, for Tergat, this is a keen to winning a marathon.
“It is with great honour and privilege to stand here today as the President-elect of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya. In a sense, this mirrors the feeling I used to get after crossing the finish line of a gruelling 42.199km marathon,” Tergat expressed his feelings.
Tergat takes over from long-serving president, another Athletics legend Kipchoge Keino who is considered the father of Kenyan running and sports. He paid tribute to the outgoing team led by Dr. Keino who did not contest.
“Mzee is a Global icon who occupies a special place in our sports and we highly respect and look up to him as a Nation. We owe him a debt of gratitude.”
With a tagline of Together we will achieve, Together will deliver, Together we will celebrate, he noted that the momentous election is a calling and a responsibility he cherishes with tremendous humility.
“It is the start of a major journey, a journey of transformation and restoration. This day marks another Great milestone and the beckoning of a New Dawn in Kenya’s Sports,” said Tergat.
Only one member from past executive team, Francis Paul, retained his seat as the Secretary General. Shadrack Maluki and Waithaka Kioni were voted the First and Second deputy presidents respectively.
Francis Mutuku is the new deputy Secretary. The treasurer position went to Anthony Kariuki with Paul Rwambo his assistant. The Committee members are Shoaib Abdulgani, Paul Otula, Winnie Kamau.
The women representative is Paurvi Rawal with Helen Obiri and Humphrey Kayange being voted male and female athletes representatives.
Biggest casualties were Athletics Kenya president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, retired legends Tegla Loroupe and Catherine Ndereba.
Tergat had a successful athletics career winning Five world cross country titles,Two world half marathons, breaking the marathon world record, and he’s a two-time Olympics and world silver medallist in 10,000m.
“It is a new dawn guided by values of integrity, responsible governance, accountability and transparency,” emphasized Tergat who further pledged that the new dawn will seek to put the interests of Kenyan sportsmen and women and our beautiful Nation above anything else.
“They shall be central to our administration policies and activities. I promised that the general welfare of our athletes is a key priority” he said.
Sports science is another key area of Tergat’s administration as well as being properly equipped and early preparations for teams.
“A new dawn will embrace the dynamic innovations in sports such as sports science technologies and advancements in a rapidly changing world.”
Tergat faces a tough task to ensure the federations work in harmony. He said he will promote objective, results-based and cordial working relationships among all federations. He however warned against poor governance.
“Proper governance, accounting and transparency mean that only the deserving individuals accompany our sports people to championships.
To ensure Kenya maintains the dominance in various sports, Tergat said nurturing of young talent is one of his key areas.
“My tenure shall harness, nurture and promote young talent by investing in our young people. My aim is to ensure that Kenya join the ranks of Nations where Sports is a full time professional career,” revealed Tergat who noted an inclusive inclusion is the way forward.
The efforts of current and retired Kenyan sportsmen and women will be appreciated, honoured and celebrated.
“In recognition and in honour of the glory they brought to Kenya, our retired Olympians will occasionally be accorded support to attend global events. They will be mentors to provide much needed guidance and support to our Team alongside the coaches.”
He declared that his newly elected office will adopt a zero toletance policy to doping. He emphasised the need to protect Clean athletes.
“I am delighted with ongoing steps locally and internationally to curb this problem and I shall join these efforts with relevant bodies, agencies and federations towards the eventual arrest of this menace. I shall not waver in this pursuit.
“On the part of the athletes, help, education and awareness on matters doping will be an ongoing process.”
He also touched on actualization of the sports lottery. Sports funding will finance sports science, grassroots and provide sports equipment to schools and the communities.