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Kenya to stick with Nike branded kit

28 May 2013, 18:04 John Kwoba

Nairobi - Kenyan teams in major international tournaments will not be changing their sports gear label after United States giant sports kit manufacturer Nike extended their deal by another four years.

Kipchoge Keino, while not revealing how much Nike will be pumping into the umbrella body entitled to prepare Kenya Olympic team, said on Tuesday it is a better deal than what they had before. The deal goes up to 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Nike has held firmly Kenya's golden Goose that is track and field and funds it to a tune of 5 million U.S. dollars a year. This includes sports kit, equipment and money meant for Athletics Kenya secretariat administration.

With the Olympic body covering over 20 sports, their bargain must be better than what Athletics got, but they have it hard to prove their worth since only track and field plus boxing have secured medals for the country ever since Kenya made its debut in the games in 1956.

Swimming has also been on the verge of breaking the jinx but its best athlete Jason Dunford, was a distant sixth in Beijing and failed to make the finals in London Olympics.

"The youths of this country always come first. That is why we had a long discussion with Nike representatives and we agreed to secure a better deal than the one we had in the previous years," Keino said in Nairobi.

"Of course we are happy to have agreed on a new better deal with Nike, which is one of the world's leading sports apparel companies. The deal is secured for a period of four years where Nike will be providing us with training equipments and uniforms.

"Nike will be sending their representatives to Nairobi in July to put pen to paper on the deal and we expect that the money will be able to trickle down to the youths at the grassroots, who are in dire need of the same to improve their talents."

This however, was overshadowed by remarks by some fans and sports officials in the country that Kenya had a dismal show in London Games last year and NOCK is doing less in preparation of athletes to the biggest sporting event.

"That is not true. As Nock we are involved in the preparations of our sportsmen to any qualification event. We support them locally and have camps for the youths to prepare well," said Keino.

He said the multi-million deal gives Nike the monopoly to kit the Kenya teams. Kenya, like many other national federations, will be facing it hard to widen its medal scope in Rio 2016.

With wrestling having been axed, rugby together with golf has been included in the 27 disciplines that will be in Rio de Janeiro in three year's time. Kenya wants to widen its medal brackets beyond the traditional track championships.

At the same time, the Kenya Olympic body will have a new set of officials on Wednesday as they go to polls. Only one man Francis Kimanzi Paul, the body's secretary general is assured of a return as he is unopposed.

Nock Chairman Kipchoge Keino, will face stiff challenge from Alfred Khangati, while Athletics Kenya (AK) president Isaiah Kiplagat will be eying the vice chairman slot alongside Sports Commissioner Gordon and swimming Chairman Ben Ekumbo.

Second vice chairman slot will have Football Kenya Federation chairman Sam Nyamweya and Weightlifting Secretary General Pius Ochieng on the ballot.

Track and field athletes Paul Tergat, Billy Konchellah and swimmer Jason Dunford will vie for the male athletes' representative as Tegla Loroupe challenge Edna Rotich from volleyball for the female slot.

- Xinhua

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