Nairobi, Thursday Sept 7, 2017: Legendary athlete Paul Tergat is ready to work with whoever will be elected during the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) elections scheduled for September 29.
The former world marathon record holder said contrary to the current rumours, he is not aligned to any group and his intention is to associate with everybody. “The fact that I have been seen talking to some groups doesn’t necessary means I am endorsing them. Like everyone else, I am anxiously waiting to see how the exercise will go. After all, I only have one vote and a lot will depend on who the federations want to serve them in different capacities,” he added.
Tergat said there is no reason for using him as a scapegoat as the purpose of the polls is to get a strong and focused team. He said all the federations know why Nock is in the current situation hence change is inevitably.
“We are all campaigning and considering the position I want, I am inclined to talk to everyone. I have tried my best to reach out to every association because I cannot run a divided house. You realize sports have stalled since Rio Olympics 2016 and since we have already set up a date, we need to work with it and not pass the buck,” he noted.
The five-time world cross country champion said Nock is too big to accommodate everyone irrespective of whether one is in leadership or not. “You don’t need to be in Nock leadership to serve your federation because our role is to cater for every federation,” he quipped.
He explained that all Nock needs right now is to focus and work with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He noted that with the Commonwealth Games less than six months away, a lot of work needs to be done if the country is to be represented effectively. “We are already too late for the games and the more we engage in rhetoric, the more we lose on time to prepare adequately”, regretted Tergat.
“We have in the past performed well in disciplines across the board because sports was about the athletes. Nowadays, officials think about themselves first hence the current trend. This is what I would like to see changed and it will no longer be business as usual if I am given the mandate to lead the organization,” he noted.
He asked the aspiring candidates to exercise sportsmanship and compete in a friendlier environment. “This is not a matter of life and death because after the polls, we will still need each other in the sports arena,” he added. He said his first assignment if elected will be to ensure there is unity among the federations that are currently divided. “Charity begins at home and for Nock to function, federations have to speak with one voice,” he said.