Kenya's delegation leader exits national athletics scene

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The man who was dubbed "career delegation leader" for leading most Kenyan athletics teams for the last 16 years to international events has exited the scene following his defeat in last week's Athletics Kenya's elections.

Joseph Kinyua, who served as Athletics Kenya's national Treasurer since 1993, lost his post to David Miano after polling 24 votes against the victor's 36.

"I have left the association's coffers healthier than I found them and I wish the incoming office the best of luck," a still visibly shocked Kinyua told Xinhua Tuesday in Nairobi.

Athletics Kenya held its national elections on May 14 after postponing the polls four times, citing different reasons for doing so each time. The elections were first set for last year before they were pushed to Feb. 27 and again to March 19.

The new date was later announced as April 3 before AK settled for April 30 as the "final date" for the eagerly awaited polls but only held the elections in May.

Considered one of the association's "Three Musketeers" alongside AK President Isaiah Kiplagat and former Secretary General who is now AK Vice-President David Okeyo, Kinyua's loss was received with trepidation within the athletics fraternity.

He was part of the team that managed the sport that has put Kenya on the world map and made many of the country's athletes among some of the richest Kenyans.

Athletics has also contributed to almost all the medals Kenya has earned at the Olympic Games and other international outings.

He was the purse keeper when AK built its headquarters, Riadha House at a whooping cost of 30 million U.S. dollars to make the association one of the only two IAAF affiliates in the world to own a secretariat.

Against a slumped income, the athletics body under Kinyua managed to control its expenditure to about two million dollars.

The former number three man at AK has been a delegation leader to several athletics teams to international events for the last 16 years. Kinyua has been on the cross country expedition since 1999.

In 2000, he led the junior team to the World Junior Championships in Santiago that brought back home a total of 14 medals, half of them gold.

He was delegation leader of the triumphant junior team that finished in top position during the 2006 IAAF Junior Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.

The team bagged 15 medals; six gold, six silver and three bronze medals to finish ahead of hosts China and the US.

2007 saw Kinyua as head of the Kenyan team to the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan where Kenya excelled.

He was there with the athletics team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where Kenya registered its best ever Olympic performance.

His next assignment was with the national cross country team to the 2009 championships in Amman, Jordan where Florence Kiplagat won the senior women's title.

Kinyua started his administrative sojourn in early 80's as the Principal of Chogoria Boys' High School and later Kisii High School.

He later rose to the position of Principal of Kenya Science Teachers College in 1986. He then did a six-year stint as Commissioner with the Teachers Service Commission before taking up the chairmanship of the Colleges and Schools Association where he served in the same capacity for more than 10 years until he retired in 2002.

"My position at the helm of the KCSA led to my entry into Athletics Kenya in 1993 where I was co-opted to represent the association," Kinyua told Xinhua.

Asked about the secret to the success with "his" teams, Kinyua replied; "I would travel as head of delegation, not an overbearing boss from Riadha House. My charges were aware that anything less short of discipline was not my modus operandi."

He rubs the point deeper by stating that indiscipline cost Kenya the overall title during the 2004 World Cross Country Championships.

"Indiscipline and infighting saw record seven coaches take charge of the Kenyan team. Deep-seated differences among officials did not make matters any better. However we learnt from our mistakes." Endi

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