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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Kenyan Runners Accuse Officials Of Stealing From Sponsorship Deal

Athletics Kenya Officials
Kenya’s corruption "is now so bad that it has sucked in some of the country’s greatest heroes: its fleet-footed runners," according to Jeffrey Gettleman of the N.Y. TIMES. 

On Monday, dozens of world-class athletes "stormed the headquarters of the national athletics association," accusing top officials of "stealing money from a Nike deal and demanding that they resign." Julius Ndegwa, a spokesperson for the runners, said, "These guys have eaten so much," using the Kenyan term "to eat" to refer to official stealing. He added, "Enough is enough." Ndegwa said that "more than 70 runners were planning to spend the night in front of the offices to make sure the officials could not get inside.

" The Int'l Association of Athletics Federations announced this month that "its ethics commission was looking into allegations that officials from Athletics Kenya, Kenya’s governing body for athletics," skimmed nearly $700,000 from a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with Nike. Kenyan detectives "are also investigating the allegations." Nike said in a statement, "We are cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation. Nike conducts business with integrity and expects that our partners do the same" (N.Y. TIMES 11/23 ().

REUTERS' Edmund Blair wrote Commissioner for Sports Gordon Oluoch said that "he would try and resolve their complaints, but did not commit himself to any specific action," and criticized the protesters for resorting to "the laws of the jungle." The Professional Athletes' Association of Kenya said that "it feared that honest athletes could face collective punishment because of scandals about doping and media allegations that top Athletics Kenya officials had embezzled some sponsorship money." Athletics Kenya "denied all such allegations"