Frustrated by Athletics at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games trials, Brian Kiptomo Otongolo, not his real name has decided to change his citizenship to another country where federations respect the will of athletes.
Otongolo, just like many Kenyan athletes who missed to compete at the trials after missing the required qualification, especially missing on drug test by Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).
“At the moment, after missing to compete at the trials, am changing my citizenship. Am in the process of doing that. I don’t think of coming back to Kenya, hopefully I will compete against Kenyans wearing another country’s jersey,” said Otongolo.
He said that he is Kenyan but he is not going to represent Kenya at all and he would do everything in his power to train hard than before to compete against Kenyans and beat them. And to change citizenship, there are many options like filing a petition that costs a lot of money.
“Basing on my experience, those who are going to represent Kenya are not the best because I was the best but I was not selected that means someone who was not the best is going to compete for Kenya and am going to beat them because am 100% sure athletes know me very well. If everything goes on well as planned I will meet with them at the championships,” explained the frustrated athlete.
He says that the current economy has put pressure on him and his colleagues, making life expensive traveling all the way from the USA, Japan and other nations to come for trials, with the flight being so
expensive, it costing about 3,000 dollars, which he says it wastage of time in traveling, money wastage and for students, they miss classes, which is frustrating. For students, when classes are going on, you have to get permission to travel to compete for Kenya
“If one travels and get the opportunity to run and get into the team, it won’t be waste of time and money. But right now, where am I headed to, what is the purpose of me competing for Kenya? I will have that mindset like am not a Kenyan and I will say a patriot? Right now I don’t think like being a patriot. I feel like am not a Kenyan because as an athlete it requires time, sacrifices to reach certain level like running away from poverty but all over a sudden when you go up, someone presses you down. For upcoming athlete, this is so frustrating. Am 100% sure that one may give up on training like going for trials and then when I qualify, still I may not represent the country,” he said.
Last weekend he explained that he met face to face with his first experience ever that all disciplines were finals. He said that initially AK used to have heats to semis then finals, but last weekend was a deal
to lock out other athletes especially those from abroad who wanted to make Team Kenya because some of athletes who live in the USA, Japan and other countries were not tested by ADAK.
“AK said that that for one to compete at the nationals, one has to be tested by ADAK only which was frustrating because most of athletes travel across the globe just to come and compete in Kenya but when they come back, things change because they are not tested by ADAK,” he said.
He said that the rules will affect medal prospects for the country in middle and long distance especially for the young athletes, whose names were ejected from the final list even after qualifying. He said that
they should have been given a chance to compete with the global stars in future but AK shut their dreams.
“My frustration was that the federation should give all athletes a chance to compete especially the young ones. Or if they knew that they were not going to compete, they should have told them that there are no
chances for you guys and no need for trials. On my behalf and others, ADAK through the federation they could have told them earlier that all athletes from abroad they did not need to come to Kenya for trials. Such athletes should be send a memo or being tracked by ADAK or alternatively, they should send someone to such countries to track them. Every time there are track events like in the USA or japan, the federation or adak should plan for them to be tested,” he said.
“They should support these young ones who have a great future. We don’t know what the future holds for them. Someone like Eliud Kipchoge was struggling before he was put into the limelight. Before you get to the top, you should have come from bottom and we athletes we understand and we follow the footsteps of some people like me I follow my sister (name withheld) who was my role model. I saw her perform well and I wanted to be like her. And when I talk to her, she used to tell me that she used to run barefoot. Even me, I never used to wear shoes while running until I got a scholarship to study abroad,” he said.
Despite producing documents to prove that he was tested by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) the federations insisted that he was not going to run at all costs.
“My frustration came in when I was told that I had never done any drug test by ADAK but I was tested by WADA not ADAK for almost like six times this year. I tried to show AK my drug test documents but they rejected and told me that I should have been tested by ADAK and that is how my dreams were shuttered,” he said.
“When I went to ADAK’s representative at the Kenyan trials, they told me they don’t have the power to test an athlete but they should get names from AK because Adak don’t know athletes and AK know athletes. After AK gives the names to ADAK, ADAK then tests them according to the names from AK,” He added.
Otongolo competed in four Track and field meetings but he was never tested too. He competed in Mumias, Kisumu and two in Nairobi but never got tested. He alleges that he even gained interest and went to ADAK to be tested but he was told me that to get tested, he need to go through some questions, which he did and felt happy that it was the right time to be but it never happened.
“They lied to us that they have to get a list from AK and I would have gone there to ask for testing may that could have been the short cut,” he expressed.
He also lamented that athletes’ representative Milach Chemos, who was an athlete and understand the needs of athletes did not bother to check on how we were fairing on.
“I met with athletes’ representative Milcah Chemos, send her text messages and calls, she takes long time to reply. I know her as an athlete and she understands the journey of athletes and should be the first person to respond to athletes’ calls. She knows that these are athlete so and so in the USA and Japan and they were not shortlisted because they did not have drug test, have qualifying time and documents
from WADA or any drug testing body but she doesn’t do that all,” he narrated.
He alleged that Chemos has no concern on athletes where she should be helping athletes to get to another level.
“Athletes depend on her, we expect more from her. We expect her to do more and she should come up with an idea to help upcoming athletes,” he said.