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Interview: Beijing Games leave Kenya's athletics managers with fond memories
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09:26, September 09, 2008

The just concluded 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have formed lasting memories for the managers of the Kenyan athletics team.

Outside the sterling performance that Kenya's Olympic team to Beijing displayed with an impressive haul of 14 medals; five gold, five silver and four bronze, the seemingly lasting impression that has formed in the minds of Joseph Kinyua and his deputy David Kilundo might take rather long to erase if at all.

Speaking separately in Nairobi to Xinhua, four days after the team's arrival from the quadrennial event, the two agreed on one point: Beijing has raised the bar so high that it has put London 2012 in a quandary in its bid to go half as high as the 2008 Games.

"The way the championships organized was more than excellent. The roads were good, there was no congestion. There was an Olympic lane and for the two weeks I stayed there, I did not come by any obstruction," said Kinyua.

"The 24 hour cafeteria system where you could have your breakfast, lunch or supper at any time that really helped matters. The standard that the Chinese set was very high," says Kinyua who is also the treasurer of Kenya's national athletics governing body, Athletics Kenya.

The veteran sports administrator reiterates that London is in a precarious position to either match or surpass the Beijing standards, of which he says saw everything smoothly with clockwork precision.

He described the Chinese as very friendly and accommodating people, adding that this was his second visit to China and would not mind to return on another athletics-related assignment, since the country seems to be his favorite.

Kinyua's first visit was in 2006 with the world Junior team that also won the world title. Kilundo commends the Chinese for " the best organized Olympics ever."

He praised the excellent transport system which ensured that the team got to the training and competition venues on time as a factor that contributed positively to the team's exemplary performance.

"During the opening ceremony, there were over one thousand buses which were used to transport athletes to the venue and back. The security arrangements left no one with anything to complain about and people moved freely knowing that their safety was well taken care of," says Kilundo.

He says that the variety in the culinary provisions accorded the athletes and officials a chance to sample gastronomic from different parts of the world which added to the Chinese adventure.

"There were Mediterranean foods, MacDonald's, African and all kinds of cooking for everybody. However, we advised our athletes to eat with discipline to check on their weight because chances of ballooning were very high if one ate with abandon," says the council member of athletics Kenya.

"I found the Chinese very rich in culture. My visit to the Great Wall of China was a very historic moment in my life and I urge anyone who makes a trip to China to make it part of his itinerary," he advised.

Kilundo says that the success of the just concluded Olympic Games can be confirmed by the attendance, both at the venues of the games and the 204 out of the 205 IOC member countries that participated in the games.

"I can't say much, the world saw what happened in Beijing through their television stations," Kilundo concludes.

Source: Xinhua

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