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Report: Government Will Investigate Kenya’s Poor Showing

August 10, 1996

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Kenya plans to investigate why its athletes fared worse than they expected at the Olympic Games, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The government will name an independent commission to determine the cause of the team’s performance, The East African Standard said.

``We must go back to the drawing boards and find the root cause of all our woes in sports,″ the newspaper quoted Culture and Social Service Minister Nyiva Mwendwa as saying.

Kenyan runners blazed their way into Olympic history in the 1988 games in Seoul, where the country won five gold medals, and performed well in Barcelona in 1992, where Kenya won two golds.

In Atlanta, the Kenyan team won only one gold _ by Joseph Keter in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. It won four silver medals in track and field and three bronze medals.

The boxing squad, the other discipline in which Kenyans were expected to earn medals, was eliminated early on.

Seventeen of Kenya’s 54-member Olympic team arrived Friday at Nairobi airport.

Some members staged a sit-in when they were told they would have to pay duty on radios, televisions and stereos bought in the United States, The Daily Nation reported.

Triple jumper Jacob Kantonon and flyweight boxer Julius Theuri complained that customs officials were punishing them for the team’s poor showing because in 1992 and 1988, no one had to pay duty on anything.

It was not clear how the issue was resolved.

Controversy surrounded the team even before it left Kenya. Team leader Kipchoge Keino accused foreign agents of pushing athletes to compete in lucrative European races in early July when they should have been training in Mississippi.

Many team members did not return home Friday because they had traveled to Europe for more professional track meets.

Update hourly