Distance running great Loroupe to go alone in NOC-K elections

Nairobi, Sep 20: Retired Kenyan female distance running legend Tegla Loroupe has declared she will go it alone in the forthcoming National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOC-K) elections.

The under fire national Olympics body will hold its Elective General Assembly (EGA) on September 29 in a bid to beat the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to reform its leadership or face sanctions that include a ban from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan, reports Xinhua news agency.

Loroupe, 44, is expected to challenge incumbent Purvi Rawal for the position of Women Representative in the September 29 polls after she announced that she will not be defending her post of Athletes' Representative.

"Elections should have been held in May. It is sad that four months later we are yet to have them. I pray that they go on as planned at the end of the month," Loroupe, a respected award-winning global humanitarian, lamented on Tuesday.

"There are questionable characters on both sides of the coin that is why I don't feel its right to join any camp. I just want to be elected as an individual and continue serving Kenyans," Loroupe said in Nairobi.

The exercise was initially scheduled for May 5 but a court order obtained by the warring Kenya Tae Kwon Do Association stopped the EGA in a move that saw IOC increase the pressure on Kenya to reform the body.

Former world marathon record holder and two-time Olympic men's 10,000m silver medallist, Paul Tergat, is the frontrunner to ascend to the chairmanship of the organisation tainted by the Rio 2016 Olympics scandal that has seen four outgoing senior NOC-K officials charged in court for theft of money and kit belonging to Team Kenya.

However, the incumbency, led by the revered IOC Honorary Life Member and two-time Olympic champion, Kipchoge Keino, is keen on maintaining the status quo with the long-serving chairman reported to have collected his nominations papers to defend his seat last week.

Although he was not implicated in the Rio fiasco, Kipchoge had earlier stated he was stepping down from the post he has held since 1999.

At the same time, the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), who were mandated by NOC-K to conduct the polls during the Elective General Assembly, said they are ready for elections after meeting federation representatives.

In a meeting in Nairobi, CMD settled on the existing set of rules for the initial elections although some affiliate federations are yet to agree on their list of officials who will represent them.

"We are glad the meeting was attended by all stakeholders, candidates, voters and NEC Members. The way forward has been agreed on. Federations with wrangles will have their cases heard on the election date," CMD CEO, Francis Onyango said.

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