President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured the country that his administration is keen on harnessing and nurturing sporting talents among young Kenyans.
He said mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that talents are identified and developed right from the grassroots to benefit gifted young people.
“We do not just want to cultivate talents at the national but also at the grassroots level,” the President said yesterday.
He said the Competence Based Curriculum being rolled out is structured to facilitate the identification and development of talented young people at an early age.
The President spoke at State House, Nairobi when he flagged of Tong-IL Moo-Do Kenya national team that will be representing the country at the 2019 Chungju World Martial Arts Mastership in South Korea. Tong-IL Moo-Do is a unique Korean martial arts sport.
President Kenyatta was presented with the 8thdegree honorary Black Belt award from the World Tong-Il Moo-Do Federation in appreciation of his continuous support and commitment to the sport.
The award was given to the President by the Chairman of the Kenya Tong-IL Moo-Do Federation Clarence Mwakio Ingalwa.
At the same event, the President received the national flag and trophies from the national men’s basketball team, the Morans, and the national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers.
The two teams recently competed in the FIBA AfroCan basketball tournament in Bamako, Mali and the Africa Women Volleyball Championship in Cairo, Egypt respectively.
The President reassured the country that the government has allocated adequate funds to cater for the welfare of teams representing the country at international tournaments.
“We have now set aside funds to ensure that no team carrying our national flag will sleep in airports because they lack tickets, accommodation or they have no allowance,” he said.
He asked sports associations to ensure that money allocated to the teams is used for intended purposes, adding that mismanagement of the funds will not be tolerated.
“When we give you money, you must account for how it has been used to benefit our sports men and women. We want each federation and association to show how the money has been used to support respective players,” the President cautioned.
“We must make sure that our federations support our athletes and develop sports. Never again will we allow the money to be misused. Lets support our teams so that we can restore the dignity to our young men and women who are making us proud as a nation,” he added.
The President commended the national basketball and volleyball teams for their sterling performance in the recent championships, saying they have put Kenya on the global map in sports that it was not traditionally known for.
“Kenya is today known not just for athletics. We have our basket ballers, netballers, swimmers and others representing us. We are now excelling in different arenas and not just in what we were traditionally known for,” President Kenyatta said.
For the teams heading out of the country for continental and international tournaments, the President urged them to do their best by maintaining discipline.
“Play fair and clean. If you come back a champion we will be happy but we will be happier if you come home champions after playing fair and clean,” he advised.
Sports CS Amina Mohamed said Kenya’s sports men and women are the country’s foremost ambassadors as they continue to raise the national flag high at international platforms.
The CS commended the national beach volleyball team for winning a silver medal at the ongoing 12th African Games in Morocco yesterday.
The sports men and women were accompanied to State House by Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia and Athletics Kenya President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei.