Tergat gets support of federations to be Kenya Olympic head

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) Two-time Olympic silver medalist Paul Tergat gained the support of Kenya's most important sports federations on Tuesday in his bid to become head of the country's troubled Olympic committee.

The track and field, soccer and rugby federations announced their support for Tergat - as did six other sports - as he launched his campaign for the presidency of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

Tergat, the former marathon world-record holder and five-time cross-country world champion, is now retired and a member of the International Olympic Committee. He will challenge current Kenyan Olympic head Kip Keino in the May 5 election.

Under Keino, NOCK has been in turmoil since last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with high-ranking officials charged with theft after money and sports equipment went missing in the buildup to the games. Kenya's scandal-ridden Olympics also saw it send two coaches home from the games, one accused of a doping cover-up back in Kenya and the other of impersonating an athlete to gain access to the Olympic Village.

The events in Rio resulted in the Kenyan sports minister temporarily disbanding NOCK. The IOC also demanded NOCK enact a series of reforms and hold new elections, something Keino and his fellow NOCK executives initially refused to do, putting Kenya in danger of an Olympic ban.

The NOCK leadership backtracked and adopted a new constitution last month.

The 77-year-old Keino, a trailblazer for Kenyan athletics after winning gold in the 1,500 meters at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, has been in charge of NOCK for more than a decade.

Tergat said it was time for a fresh approach.

''Sport is changing by the day with new technologies and advancements,'' Tergat said Tuesday, stopping short of directly criticizing Keino's leadership. ''With these changes, I do believe (the) time has come for a young, dynamic Kenyan to bring in newer ideas to take on the mantle and cope with these rapid changes.''

Tergat announced two-time marathon world champion Catherine Ndereba was part of his team and is a candidate to be one of NOCK's athlete representatives and a member of the executive committee.

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