A contingent of Kenyan athletes on Sunday, July 24 departed Nairobi for Brazil. The athletes are the first batch of Team Kenya that would be competing at this year’s summer Olympics to arrive in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
The group included three representatives for the boxing events, the players and coaching crew of Kenya’s men and women’s rugby teams, and a lone representative for each of the following sporting events; Weightlifting, archery and Judo.
The contingent was received on arrival in Brazil by Stephen Soi, the Chef de Mission of Kenya’s Olympic team who had led an advance party to Rio to prepare for the team’s arrival. The team members are expected to resume their respective training programs in the days following their arrival.
Earlier on Friday, 22 July, President Uhuru Kenyatta had received the Kenyan athletes at the State House, Nairobi, where he formally presented them with the Kenyan flag. He urged them to stay away from performance enhancing drugs and compete with dignity. He said:
Kenya has a tradition of clean participation at the Olympics. I would like to urge all of you to avoid soiling our hard-earned reputation. I also encourage each one of you to rise to the occasion as all Kenyans will be following your performance closely.
At the Rio games, Team Kenya would be hoping to repeat its strong performances at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, where its athletes had the most impressive medal haul yet, winning a total of 14 medals (6 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze). The last Olympic Games in London were less impressive, with Kenya only managing to win two Gold and 11 medals in all.
Kenya is one of Africa’s Olympic power houses establishing an international dominance in the long distance running events. At the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing, Kenya came tops overall. Kenya would be competing in the boxing, judo, archery, swimming, athletics and rugby events of the 2016 Olympics. David Rudisha (800m) and Ezekiel Kemboi (3000m steeplechase) both of whom are the reigning Olympic champions would be among athletes representing Kenya at this year’s event.
Coach Benjamin Ayimba would be in charge of both the women and men’s rugby teams, both teams are comprised of 12 players each and three officials. The men’s rugby team includes Kenyan rugby star Collins Injera who holds the all-time world record holder for the number of tries scored in an IRB Sevens World Series Circuit.