NAIROBI, Kenya- Former world marathon record holder; Paul Kibii Tergat, was named president of Kenya’s strife-hit Olympic committee on Friday in an exercise that is expected to end months of controversy and infighting.
“Since Paul Tergat is unopposed, he is now the new president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya” said Omweri Angima, an independent referee appointed to oversee the Kenya elections by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The legendary Kenyan athlete was elected unopposed after the General Assembly dismissed his sole challenger, Patrick Muyah.
Tergat, a double Olympic 10,000m silver medallist and five-time world cross-country champion announced his candidature in March.
The 48-year-old will hope to revive and renew the scandal-hit National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOC-K) which was rocked by corruption and mismanagement at the Rio 2016 Olympics with four senior officials charged in court thereafter for stealing money and kit belonging to Kenyan athletes.
Kenya was placed on a doping watch list by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) in 2016, and only narrowly avoided being banned from the Rio Olympics with the last minute passing of a tough new law that met the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Kenya finally established its anti-doping agency earlier this year. Nevertheless, in April Kenya’s Rio Olympic marathon gold medallist, Jemima Sumgong, was suspended after testing positive for the banned substance EPO in an out-of-competition test.
Several Kenyan athletics officials were charged with various offences after the 2016 Olympics, including stealing team uniforms.
Former NOCK chief Kipchoge Keino, who ran the committee for nearly 20 years and was heavily criticised over Rio, did not attempt to keep his seat leaving Tergat the only candidate for the post.
Friday’s elections were postponed from May and are the first in which the NOCK executive committee did not control the process.