Kenya has arrested three top members of its Olympic committee, a Reuters witness said, after mismanagement of the contingent nearly derailed the country’s participation... Kenya arrests three officials over Rio Olympics mismanagement

Kenya has arrested three top members of its Olympic committee, a Reuters witness said, after mismanagement of the contingent nearly derailed the country’s participation in the Rio Games.

Athletes exercise in the early morning in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Athletes exercise in the early morning in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 21, 2016.

The east African nation notched up its biggest ever haul of medals in Brazil but doping and organisational challenges had plagued its preparations in the run-up to the event.

On Friday, chef de mission Stephen arap Soi and assistant secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) James Chacha were taken to a police station in Nairobi upon arrival from the Olympics, alongside the body’s Secretary General F. K. Paul, according to the witness.

Another official, Chief Executive of Athletics Kenya Susan Kamau, told Reuters she too was questioned by police but shortly released.

With six golds, as many silvers and one bronze medal, Kenya finished second only to the United States in the athletics table, making South America’s first Olympic Games its best outing so far.

But its athletics pedigree has been tainted with up to 40 runners failing dope tests in the past four years. Its struggle to convince authorities it was taking the issue seriously threatened its participation in Rio.

In April, Kenya’s president signed into law a bill criminalising doping, as demanded by the World Anti-Doping Agency, to avoid a Rio ban and the government has promised a tighter rein in the future.

At the Games, Kenya’s Olympic committee sent home a sprinting coach after he was accused of posing as an athlete to doping testers. The coach said he had borrowed an accreditation pass to seek a meal in the athletes’ village.

Kenya’s athletics manager was also sent home from the Olympics and is being detained while police investigate allegations that he had warned athletes before the Games about drugs tests in return for cash. He denies any wrongdoing.

Government officials had warned of measures against officials accused of mismanaging preparations ahead of the competition’s conclusion.

On Thursday, Sports Minister Hassan Wario said he had disbanded NOC-K and set up a committee to probe mismanagement. It will report its findings by Sept. 30.

 

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Staff Writer