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Marathon champ Paul Tergat to head Kenya NOC

FILE PHOTO: Kenyan great Tergat meets world athletics chief Seb Coe in Kampala recently. Tergat is set to lead the KOC

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP |  Former marathon world record holder Paul Tergat was named president of Kenya’s strife-hit Olympic committee on Friday, hoping to end months of controversy and infighting.

“Since Paul Tergat is unopposed, he is now the new president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya,” said Omweri Angima, an independent referee appointed to oversee the Kenya elections by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Tergat, a double Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, former marathon world record holder and five-time world cross-country champion announced his candidacy in March.

The 48-year-old will hope to revive and renew the scandal-hit National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) which was rocked by corruption and mismanagement during Kenya’s appearance at the Rio Olympics and has had its IOC funding frozen over governance concerns.

Kenya’s reputation for producing world beating distance runners has also taken a knock thanks to a series of doping scandals.

Kenya was placed on a doping watch list by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) in 2016, and only narrowly avoided being banned from the Rio Olympics with the last minute passing of a tough new law that met the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Kenya finally established its anti-doping agency earlier this year. Nevertheless, in April Kenya’s Rio Olympic marathon gold medallist, Jemima Sumgong, was suspended after testing positive for the banned substance EPO in an out-of-competition test.

Several Kenyan athletics officials were charged with various offences after the 2016 Olympics, including stealing team uniforms.

Former NOCK chief Kipchoge Keino, who ran the committee for nearly 20 years and was heavily criticised over Rio, did not attempt to keep his seat leaving Tergat the only candidate for the post.

Friday’s elections were postponed from May and are the first in which the NOCK executive committee did not control the process.

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