Kenya hope to send largest ever Olympic team to summer’s Games in London
Kenya hope to send their largest ever Olympic team to this summer’s Games in London in a bid to top their record medal haul from Beijing.
The African nation picked up six gold medals and 14 overall in Beijing four years ago, but hope to eclipse that performance at London 2012.
Kenya’s Beijing display was all the more remarkable given they only sent 48 athletes to the Games after 96 competitors had gone to Athens in 2004.
It was on the track that the Kenyans excelled, as they finished behind only America and Russia in the athletics medals table, and again that will be target.
Double Olympic champion Kip Keino, now the President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), has called for a new record medal haul in London.
"The country has many youths who can do better," said Keino. "But we have not done enough to expose them and train them.
"We will try to do that this time round so that we may maximize on the medal prospects from the Games."
The incentives will be there for Kenyan athletes to raise their games, with sports minister Paul Otuoma promising huge financial benefits for those who can bring home Olympic gold.
"We want to honour you," said Otuoma. "We will give out cash rewards as always and then see what we can add.
"Maybe land or cars.
"But athletes must be given good recognition for their determination and struggle to raise the country flag high."
Keino also wants to see Kenyans picking up medals in other sports as well as just athletics, which have accounted for 68 of the 75 total medals they have won in their history.
"Kenya has many youths who can excel in any discipline," said Keino. "These need to be done with urgency so that we widen our medal scope for the London Olympics.
"Dependence on track and field alone is not good for a sporting nation like ours."