Kenya's Under-19 rugby side thrown out of C'wealth Games
09 July 2015, 08:31
Nairobi - Controversy brewed on Wednesday after Kenya's Under-19 rugby team was thrown out of the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, with the national federation and government accusing each other for the decision.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) claimed an official at the Ministry of Sports had written to the Commonwealth Games Foundation (CGF), the organizer of the Games, asking for the country to be withdrawn behind their backs.
They further alleged the National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) was also not aware of the move to pull the team out with another country invited to take their place.
"After the Commonwealth Games Foundation received the letter, they immediately offered the slot that was given to Kenya to another nation who happily accepted and confirmed they would attend the event," Stephen Arap Soi, who is the Executive Officer at the national Olympics body, confirmed to journalists in Nairobi.
"We had no choice but to accept our rugby team could not go to Samoa," Soi told local media.
He said an appeal launched to reverse the decision failed since their replacements had already nailed their place in the competition where Kenya was among only the eight countries invited to take part in rugby sevens.
"This fateful decision could even affect them in other areas of life as well as their rugby careers. Their parents are equally disappointed," the crestfallen Under-19 rugby team coach Paul Odera rued.
Kenya's Commissioner for Sport, Gordon Oluoch, said the government could not afford to send out the team owing to budgetary constraints with the Pan African Games (formerly All African Games) set for Congo Brazzaville later in the year.
"As you are aware, the African Games are the most costly sporting venture for our ministry since it is the event we send the largest number of our athletes in almost all sporting event registered in Kenya," he said.
"We were not allocated enough in the 2015 budget to cater for all national teams who are travelling out of the country and KRU did not help us by bringing on board sponsors to supplement the little we could offer," added the government official.
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