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Kenya slammed for abandoning junior athletes in Kazakhstan   

By Kimathi Kamau NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Export Promotion Council (EPC) has been condemned by Athletics Kenya following claims that junior athletes were mistreated at the Astana Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan.

According to local media reports, federation President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei alleged eight runners who won medals at the Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Under 18 Championships were left stranded in Astana after being abandoned at the Expo.

The national body charged with development and promotion of export trade invited the concerned athletes through AK via Kenya’s Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts to attend the cultural exchange in Kazakhstan.

“This is why we insisted on a letter of commitment from the Ministry of Sports before releasing the young athletes. What a let-down. I hope they come back safely. Let’s pray for them,” Tuwei told Citizen television on Wednesday.

One of the affected athletes, Japheth Kibiwott Toroitich who won bronze in the boys’ 800m at the last edition of the World Under 18, was left stranded at the Astana International Airport before being detained by Kazakh immigration officials.

EPC was accused of not securing his visa to the central Asian country and it is claimed he spent two days out in the cold without food and water.

“It was not what I expected, when we were travelling I thought all papers were sorted but things took a wrong turn so fast. On top of the visa mishaps, the officers thought that I had plans to remain there after the Expo since my passport shows that I’m a student,” Toroitich said.

World U18 silver medalists Lydia Cheruto (800m) and Mercy Chepkirui (2,000m steeplechase) were left stranded in Nairobi after issues with their travel papers. 



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