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Paris 2024 preparations begin for Kenya as World Aquatics lifts ban

Kenyan aquatic athletes can finally celebrate, as the World Aquatics has officially lifted the ban imposed on the nation. The confirmation of the decision reached the Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba through a letter penned by the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK) secretary-general, Francis Mutuku.

The letter by Mutuku read, “We make reference to the above and notify you that communication from the Vice President, World Aquatics Executive Committee has confirmed that World Aquatics has lifted the ban on Kenya Swimming with immediate effect. We wish to thank you for your support and guidance in the process. Kenyan swimmers can now fly our flag proudly.”

This uplifting news follows a challenging period of disputes that began in 2019. Kenya had previously faced exclusion from World Aquatics global tournaments due to their inability to hold national elections by the October 30 deadline as initially set out.

What made matters more concerning was that the nation underwent an indefinite suspension in May of the following year, with increasing disagreements arising among aquatic sports representatives, especially the Interim Management Committee (IMC). The situation deteriorated further when Kenya missed two national election opportunities in 2020.

What Ababu Namwamba had to say about the incident

Namwamba stated that the timing of the decision is apt as it will now pave the way for Kenyan aquatic athletes to take part in the qualifiers leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF) also faced severe criticism for allegedly discriminating in their choice of athletes for various levels of competitions.

Ababu Namwamba also stated, “It is important to note that sports is age sensitive and locking out a swimmer for four years may lead to killing of one’s career.” He further shared his resolve that under his leadership, efforts will be undertaken to ensure that Kenyan sports don’t experience similar suspension occurrences.

Ababu Namwamba’s take on Doping

Moreover, Ababu Namwamba reinforced Kenya‘s unyielding stand against doping and said that athletes should remain clean, and those found guilty of doping would undergo stringent repercussions. While Kenya has historically faced doping allegations, the number of its athletes failing tests has been on the rise. As part of the effort to combat this, the government has allocated an annual budget of approximately Sh750 million over the forthcoming five years to counter doping activities.

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