Kenya withdraws from Beijing Winter Olympics

Sabrina Simader Wanjiku

Kenya’s Sabrina Simader Wanjiku skiing in a past event. Wanjiku finished 23rd in the 44-strong field in the ladies’ super-G in Saturday’s opening alpine skiing event at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Simader was the only Kenya’s representative where she finished 38th in the women's Super-G, but failed to finish in the Women's giant slalom second stage after settling 59th in the first stage.
  • Katheku has been training through scholarships in South Korea and USA, but due to travel restrictions, he was unable to honour qualification events in the last two years. 
  • Moronge, a resident in Czech Republic, was on the path to Olympics, but restrictions in Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic made him miss out on qualification events to gain enough points for Beijing. 

Kenya has pulled out of the 2022 Winter Olympics scheduled for February 4 to 20 in Beijing, China.

There were two Olympics and one Paralympics hopefuls on the path to Beijing 2022, namely Sabrina Simader (Alpine skiing), Dennis Moronge (Cross-country skiing) and Daniel Katheku Safari (Para skiing).

Simader was the only one who had met the qualification standard, while the rest depended on wild cards for participation.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) secretary general, Francis Mutuku, disclosed that they had seen great potential in Simader, disbursing Sh8 million in the last three years to assist her in preparations. 

However, Mutuku said that Simader required more financial resources to sufficiently train for the specific event and felt she wasn’t well prepared, hence opting to focus on the World Championships and tours this year.

Mutuku noted that NOC-K and the Ministry of Sports will continue building pathways towards ensuring athletes who wish to qualify and participate in future winter Olympics receive utmost support.

“We want to tap the talents of many young Kenyans in the diaspora, as well as in the country for some of the sports that are fairly less complicated like curling which has already launched in the country,”Mutuku said. “Ice hockey is also practiced in Kenya.”

Mutuku said they will ensure that Simader and the rest receive support in their journey towards the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Amprezzo, Italy

Although the Winter Olympics doesn’t feature a huge Kenyan presence, the country has participated in four editions in the past, including the 2018 edition in Pyeongchanga, South Korea.

Simader was the only Kenya’s representative where she finished 38th in the women's Super-G, but failed to finish in the Women's giant slalom second stage after settling 59th in the first stage.

Katheku has been training through scholarships in South Korea and USA, but due to travel restrictions, he was unable to honour qualification events in the last two years. 

Moronge, a resident in Czech Republic, was on the path to Olympics, but restrictions in Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic made him miss out on qualification events to gain enough points for Beijing. 

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