By Judith Gicobi
The Ministry of Sports is accused of bringing 32 joyriders into the 2022 World Athletics Championship in Oregon, United States, according to recent reports. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has started an investigation into these claims.
The decision to include the “joyriders” in the initial batch that left on Friday of last week came at the expense of competitors like Ferdinand Omanyala, the fastest man in Africa, who almost missed the races.
This was allegedly done to avoid being discovered by the US embassy staff who were in charge of issuing visas.
“The reason why the ministry officials included Omanyala and Tuwei in the last batch was meant to hoodwink embassy officials since they knew the star sprinter and the federation president could not be left out,” a source told local media.
The joyriders allegedly paid Ksh2 million each to be included in the list.
The number of persons on the trip list increased from 80 to 112 as a result of the addition of the joyriders, which led to delays in the issuance of US travel visas for the athletes chosen to compete for their nation at the championships.
George Kinoti, the head of DCI, voiced displeasure and said that the agency was looking into the presence of joyriders, coaches, and technical personnel on the list provided by Athletics Kenya (AK).
“It is really shocking… this is a shame not to the country but to the whole world… we shall not accept,” Kinoti stated.
However, the State Department of Sports refuted the claims that the joyriders paid a fee to be listed. They also confirmed that no government representatives had visited the US.
Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei further insisted that the federation had only sent the US embassy with a list of 46 athletes and 28 staff for visa applications.