Team Kenya Starts Camp

Team Kenya to the Tokyo Olympics recently began its residential camp at the Moi International Stadium, Kasarani. Athletics was the first team to get into the ‘bubble camp’ that was set to last for two weeks. Volleyball and rugby were expected to be the next to join the residential camps too.The phased reporting is due to the strict bubble conditions that have been set by the Tokyo Operations Team of NOC-K, which necessitated the reduction of athletes who can check into the first camp. This is also a way to manage the numbers and adhere to safety protocols, acknowledging availability of rooms at the Stadion Hotel.Athletes checked in as a team and would remain only within their team throughout the camp. The athletes each underwent a Covid-19 test on arrival at Kasarani and was allocated single room accommodation, as they awaited the results.

Once the test results were out, the athletes would now be paired into a double room to create room for another team to check in.Other bubble management rules include athletes and officials required to sign an agreement that they understand and will abide by the Covid protocols and rules. This is based on the need to ensure the protection of the health and safety of the athletes. It is a balance between the need for them to start training but understanding that it would be of no use to spend so much time and resources to train and then jeopardize an individual or team’s chances of participating at the Olympics in Japan.Athletics Kenya sent the first contingent of 33 athletes, in the following disciplines; 100meters men and women, 200meters men and women, 400meters men and women, 20km walk men and Javelin throw.The athletes are accompanied to camp by their coaches, team manager and technical team.The athletes in training are the best prospects to make into the Tokyo team, who have satisfied Athletics Kenya technical conditions.

Each discipline will be required to produce about three athletes to travel to Tokyo.Currently, only the marathon team has been named to make up the final team that will represent the country in Sapporo, Japan. The men’s team comprises of Eliud Kipchoge, Amos Kipruto, Lawrence Cherono, and Vincent Kipchumba. The ladies’ team has Brigid Kosgei, Ruth Chepngetich, Peres Jepchirchir and Vivian Cheruiyot. Most of the marathon team is training at their familiar grounds in the north rift.

The Team Managers of the Olympic teams were earlier on trained on the Tokyo Playbook. The Playbooks describe the COVID-19 countermeasures expected to be adhered to during the Games and the role of stakeholders in ensuring safe and successful games. It consists of a list of guidelines and stakeholder journey before they travel to Japan, entering Japan, during the Games and on departure from Japan.The International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee published Playbooks for various groups participating in the Games. One for Athletes and Officials, another for International Federations and technical officials, and others for Press and Broadcasters.The athletes are being assisted to get used to the Tokyo Playbook standards by NOC-K with the support of the National Federations and the team managers by simulating the same at the Bubble.