Team Kenya’s Olympic kit not a hit with citizens

An online petition has been launched in a bid to force sports apparel manufacturer Nike to redesign Team Kenya’s kit for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The petition started by a group calling itself Change KE, has already generated thousands of votes.

“Kenya is the most successful country in history in long-distance running. Kenya was ranked second in the track and field medal haul at the Rio 2016 Olympics, only outranked by the USA. We must have our athletes, as they proudly stand at the podium to receive their medals, dressed in the most beautiful, patriotic uniform, befitting of our royal status in the world athletics stage,” Change KE writes partly in the petition.

Nike Inc. unveiled part of Team Kenya’s competition kit on Tuesday and had world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot model men’s athletics competition kit alongside other countries like the USA, Nigeria and Brazil.

While some hailed the new ‘honeycomb’ design, others observed that it was purely ‘ugly’.

Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego observed that the kit was not a representation of the Kenyan heritage and needs a rethink.

“It doesn’t reflect our true Kenyan colours,” he said. “I wonder who made that suggestion. I would prefer something I am proud to wear while competing. They should make changes as soon as now.”

Volleyballer Trizah Atuka also had her reservations. “This (kit) is a big no! I don’t like it. It doesn’t represent us (Kenyans) in any way and doesn’t appeal at all. It is ugly, in short!

However, Rongai Athletics Club coach Bernard Ouma said: “Nike did not get the design and the colours out of the blue.”

“There was a Nike survey conducted in 2018 where a number of top Kenyan athletes were involved. Various designs were distributed and they helped to choose the colours and they ended up with close to what I have seen.”