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Athletics Kenya deny ‘joyriders’ ferried to World Championship

Athletics Kenya (AK) has refuted claims 32 joyriders were ferried to Oregon to watch the World Athletics Championship.

In a statement released and signed by the AK president Jackson Tuwei, the sports governing body also denied responsibility in the Visa hitch that cost sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala a chance to compete at the World Championship in Oregon.

“The allegation that 32 government officials travelled to Oregon without following due proceedure is news to Athletics Kenya. To our best of knowledge only 3 government officials have traveled to Oregon for the 2022 World Athletics Championship.”

Adding that the ministry had put a strict policy on having only officials with specific roles to accompany the teams flying out, Tuwei said, “Athletics Kenya expects the Cabinet Secretary to travel to the games as well and have scheduled meetings with Nike and World Athletics.”

Distancing the sports body from Omanyala’s visa delays, Tuwei stated the sprinter went for the visa biometrics the same day as other athletes.

“The rest were issued their visa 2 days later while Omanyala’s passport was not released. When we enquired why, we were informed he needed to fill in an additional form referred to as supplementary questions for visa applicants, to verify some facts.”

Tuwei thanked Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed for her ‘quick intervention’ in Omanyala’s visa woes.

“Neither the ministry nor the Athletics Kenya could intervene because the required process by the embassy had to be done individually.”

The Kenyan sprinter arrived at Oregon in the USA just three hours before his race after having difficulties securing his visa.

Outrage and anger from Kenyans befell on the Ministry of Sports as a result with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) probing the officials from the Ministry of Sports and sports governing body on alleged inflation of athletes travelling to Oregon that caused visa hitches for Omanyala.