The National Olympic Committee of Kenya has today issued badminton mats to Badminton Kenya purchased for the use of Kenyan players.
The four competition and four training mats were presented to the players by the NOC-K President, Dr. Paul Tergat at Arya Samaj Sports Hall. The event was attended by the badminton national team, Badminton Kenya officials Peter Muchiri and John Mburu as well as NOC-K executive members.
‘Since this Executive came into office, we have been given several challenges by different federations, badminton being one of them. The executive made the decision to purchase these mats for the sole purpose of helping prepare athletes to their best in the upcoming Games. Olympics and Commonwealth Games are around the corner. We want to make sure that players are at the centre of everything we are doing. We believe badminton is one sport that we can nurture and grow, to commendable ranks. Not just to participate but to medal. NOC-K is trying to take more players to the Games in more disciplines than the traditional ones.’ said Paul Tergat.
The president went on to request the leadership to sort out their challenges that has taken the sport back for some time. ‘’You do not need to wait longer, because the athletes are the ones that suffer in the end from an unstable leadership. A formidable leadership team is important to run the sport forward.’’
Badminton has been one of the sports that has had great challenges in preparing athletes in the run up to major games. One of the main challenges and recommendations from the players and team managers after the All African Games was provision of these mats in the country. ‘In African Games reports the team mentioned that they had been training on surfaces they are not familiar to. The President is therefore presenting these mats to give the players the greatest opportunity to compete when they go international, having trained with the international standards of equipment,’ mentioned Francis Mutuku, Ag. Secretary General, NOC-K.
Peter Muchiri, Badminton Kenya President painted the picture of the status of the sport. ‘This is the first time in history that the federation is getting competition and training mats in the country. We’ve been playing and preparing national teams on concrete floors. We have been training in low standards and playing in high caliber competitions. The vision of the federation is to move from participation to medal contenders in major games. We have tried our best, even with the current conditions, we have been able to bring bronze medals in African Games.’
The top badminton player in the country Mercy Mwethya is in the qualification pathway for the Olympics. Mercy who is a beneficiary of an Olympic Scholarship, has been assisted in training and participation in tournaments. The qualifying tournaments have been interrupted by the pandemic and will hopefully pick up soon.
The badminton mats have been made available in the country with the collaboration of World Badminton Federation and Confederation of Badminton Africa. Badminton Kenya will continue nurturing the relationship with them, for the benefit of Kenyan athletes.