The proposed budget of Sh600 million for Team Kenya’s preparations and participation in 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that have been postponed to next year is likely to go up.
National Olympic Committee of Kenya’s (Noc-k) acting secretary-general, Francis Mutuku, has said that the window of preparation for the teams might be longer following the postponement of the games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached an agreement on March 24 to postpone the Olympics from the original date (July 24 – August 9 this year) to a new date (July 23 – August 8 next year) in view of coronavirus pandemic.
NOC-K General Assembly approved a budget of Sh 600 million for the Tokyo Olympic Games on November 29 last year but the Steering Committee is yet to discuss the budget after changes were effected in the committee, occasioning the delay.
From the budget, NOC-K was meant to spend Sh250 million in preparing teams and sending them to qualifier tournaments for the Summer Games. The Steering Committee was constituted for the first time on December 25 last year, but Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed later disbanded it and formed a new one “with clear rules and responsibilities.” Special places in the team went to sports that have already qualified for the Games.
“We were to prepare the team for at least four months before the games but it means the window will now be longer,” said Mutuku adding that the period will also depend on how quickly coronavirus is contained before normalcy resumes.
“No one thought it (coronavirus) would be this serious,” he added.
Mutuku said Team Kenya’s Steering Committee had not held any session before the government imposed restrictions on movements after the first case of Covid-19 disease was reported in Kenya on March 13.
Because Amina directed all committees that will foresee the Olympics, Continental Tour Challenge and World Athletics Under-20 Championships to continue with their work to ensure that the country is ready when new dates for the events are announced, Mutuku said the Steering Committee will meet soon. Amina had also asked NOC-K to scale down its Olympics budget.
Mutuku also noted that NOC-K only gets funds from IOC through their solidarity programmes on a four year cycle. The current cycle is due to end this year, just like those of other International Federations (IFs).
He clarified that NOC-K had applied for Sh7.5 million from the IOC to help Kenya sevens (men and women) teams to prepare for and honour Olympics qualifier tournaments. NOC-K received Sh3 million from IOC.
He said IOC’s Task Force Committee formed after postponement of the games will advise on the way forward in view of coronavirus pandemic.
“A first review could be taken after three months but we should take note that the disease has just entered Africa and is yet to reach most countries in South America and the Oceania,” Mutuku explained.
“Realistically, 120 days will be an ideal period for a proper review of the situation. Normalcy will perhaps be observed in December if the disease will have been handled successfully.”
A total of 41 Kenyan sportsmen and women drawn from the three team sports – swimming, tae kwon-do and boxing – had qualified for the Tokyo Games, with additional 46 having attained the Olympics qualifying times and marks in athletics.
NOC-K projects that Kenya could be represented by an estimated 100 athletes at the Tokyo Summer Games.
Some 89 athletes (47 men and 42 women) represented Kenya at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where the country spent an estimated Sh530 million
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and the shutdown of the sporting calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic will hit international sports federations financially.
Many sports that are part of the Games depend heavily on the pay outs every four years from the IOC.
Nock treasurer, Anthony Kariuki, hopes that many companies won’t be hit hard by the Covid-19.
“It’s also our hope that the IOC has a reserve fund for rescue,” said Kariuki.
The 28 IFs of the sports that were due to be present at the Tokyo Olympics would have received substantial sums of money from the IOC.
However, the postponement of the games until 2021 could lead to freezing of all payments.
“We have a lot of IFs with substantial reserves, but others work on a different business model as they have income from major events which are now suspended. That could present them with cash flow problems if they don’t have enough reserves,” said Andrew Ryan, director general of the Association of International Olympic Summer Sports Federations (ASOIF), which is responsible for distributing the money.
The five additions to the Tokyo Games programme – karate, surfing, skateboarding, climbing and baseball/softball – are not eligible to receive money from IOC.
The Olympic payout totalled $520 million (Sh52 billion) after the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, four years ago.