Nock president Tergat draws up bold plan

In this interactive series, we invite our readers to send in questions to select public figures.

Answers will be published in the next print and online editions.

This week, National Olympic Committee of Kenya President Paul Tergat responds to your questions:

1. Congratulations for winning that coveted Nock docket. I was listening to Daniel Komen, former steeplechase legend, during an interview in a local radio station narrating the harrowing tales of what ails athletics in Kenya. He cited, among others, the vulnerability of the government to reasonably reward and recognise the athletic legends who put Kenya in the global map. What is your take on the above assertion?

Bonny Mutai, Londiani

It is true we have not recognised and rewarded our athletes adequately.

Various private and public initiatives have been established in the recent past to address this problem such as federation awards and the government reward scheme for medallists.

However, it is not enough and we will do our best to improve on the same.

2. What measures will you put in place to revive Nock given the recent corruption and mismanagement challenges it faced during the last Olympics in Rio, Brazil?

What measures will you put in place to stamp out cases of doping?

Andrew Maranga Ratemo, Malindi

Nock has in the recent past been faced with various challenges.

However, I am happy to note that efforts to reinvigorate this important national institution started with endorsement of a new constitution and election of new officials.

The current office will consult all stakeholders and partners and put in place measures that will enable a vibrant and transparent Nock to work for the good of all sports.

3. Sometimes we seem to allow politics play a role in our sports world and of cause at the expense of the country’s performance.

Why and how does this happen and can it be avoided as it brings no value in our sports world?

Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

Francis, it is said politics is a way of life.

But I agree with you that we should avoid politicising our sports.

I will do my level best to professionalise operations and the way we run our sports affairs at our sports associations.

4. Olympics time is an opportunity for some ‘worthies’ in the government to reap when they travel abroad.

Can Nock in the future publish names of officials who are travelling and their purpose of travel?

Githuku Mungai

We are reviewing how those who travel have been done in the past with a view to doing things differently. We will ensure deserving and useful persons travel for a purpose. I welcome your proposal that we make some of these plans a public information.

5. What does Nock staff do on any single day when we do not have Olympic games in sight?

Githuku Mungai

Nock is a functional Secretariat that works continually with all stakeholders and members in the management of sports running every year.

We also work closely with the International Olympic Committee on continuous basis.

Our staff are always executing these assignments. Olympics is the climax event.

6. As Nock president, what do you intend to do to support upcoming athletes who have no sponsors?

What mechanisms will you employ to ensure that athletes in remotest areas of this country are nurtured and motivated?

Monoi Amos, Kabarnet

What you have mentioned is important. We shall work with relevant stakeholders on talent identification and development at grassroots.

We shall establish a sports lottery fund to reward our sports people.

7. The probe report on the Rio Olympics fiasco implicated who-is-who in Nock and in the ministry of Sports.

Many Kenyans hoped that with the probe some action would be taken and heads would roll.

To the dismay of many Kenyans, nothing has happened to those mentioned in Rio fiasco.

When will the Rio report be implemented? As Nock president, what do you intend to do differently so that the same mistakes of Rio games are not repeated?

Joash Ocholla, Siaya

We are looking at the Rio report and a status update will be communicated soon.

I am committed to seeing this done, documented and made available to the public.

It is from the report that we will ensure never again will we get into the same pitfalls. I am on top of this.

8. Congratulations for your election. However, in some quarters there are those who claim that you were fronted by individuals who wanted the former Nock president Kipchoge Keino out of the way. What is your take and what new agenda are you bringing to Nock? 

Komen Moris, Eldoret

My decision to vie for Nock presidency was personal, well thought out and objective to make a difference in our sports management and administration.

I am now set on fulfilling my promise and I know with support from people like you, we will make it.

9. Many residents of Baringo County cannot remember any other high profile athlete from the county since your retirement.

For sure, there must be other talents who may be struggling to reach your level or those who always looked up to you as a role model. What could be the problem?

Komen Moris, Eldoret

Among some initiatives to ensure Baringo County continues to churn out talents include organising of sports activities such as the Baringo Half Marathon, which is held annually.

Together with county government in particular, other programmes will be escalated. I urge our youth also to take up sports more.

10. Under your leadership, what is Nock going to do differently to ensure that minor sports thrive and talent tapped?

 Upin Vasani, Nairobi

The new Nock office will mobilise resources and craft programmes to not only tap and promote talent that will ensure that Kenya will take to the Olympics more disciplines than our current major ones, but will also focus on bringing up and make more popular what could be considered as minor sports.

11. There is a feeling that Nock has been dominated by athletics and former athletes. Bearing in mind that football is the most popular sport in the country, as Nock president, what do you intend to do to make Kenya football team to be participating in the Olympic Games?

Pauline Nyawira

I agree that athletics is our most successful sport locally and internationally that also bring in medals.

Every country has its strong sport like football in Brazil. However, there is a great need to develop further our sports.

Together with various managers of these sports, we will strive to improve our performance. Yes we can participate in the Olympics, including football.

12. Why doesn’t Nock advocate for Kenyan athletes who do the country proud on international circuits to be recognised and appreciated as national heroes and heroines?

Nduta Sialo

This is very important and we need to do more for our sports people. This is a multi-agency proposal and we will all work together to deliver.

13. Is it possible for Nock to seek representation on national celebrations organising committee so that athletes are showcased and given due recognition?

Nduta Sialo

We are seeing proactive recognition at national celebrations such as organisers of Jamhuri Day inviting our sports heroes and heroines, which I applaud. More needs to be done, though.

14. Is it possible for Nock to initiate and possibly be a key player in sensitising the entire Kenyan nation on the virtues of patriotism since sports is an integral part of our national fabric?

Chris Kamau, Nairobi

The idea of sports playing a major role in our national fabric and helping in cohesion is apt.

Indeed our sports is our greatest uniting asset. Nock will be central in such initiatives and will be open to progressive ideas.

15. Looking at the sorry state of our stadiums, especially after Kenya lost the right to host next year’s Chan tournament, would it be a good idea for Nock to consider putting up a stadium specifically for athletics to grow the immense talent among our youth in both long distance and equally short races, the later in which our performances have been below average?

Dan Murugu, Nakuru 

Nock will work closely with government and other agencies in a pro active manner towards ensuring we develop, maintain and improve our sporting facilities, including stadiums for various sports. Having multipurpose facilities will go a long way towards our ability to host major sporting events.

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