By Emily Goddard

Kip Keino in NarobiMay 29 - Kipchoge Keino has been re-elected as President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) despite facing criticism over the nation's substandard performance at the London 2012 Games.

The 73-year-old double Olympic champion earned 21 votes to beat former vice-president Alfred Khangati's 10 at the Annual General Assembly in Nairobi and serve a further four years in the position he has held since 1999.

Kenya won 11 medals, including two golds at last summer's Games - representing a sharp decline from Beijing 2008 when they finished third in the athletics medals table with 14 medals, including six golds - which saw President Mwai Kibaki ordering an inquiry into the country's disappointing performance.

It was, in fact, the East African nation's third best performance since it made its Olympic debut at Melbourne in 1956 but Keino admitted that London 2012 served as a learning curve to prepare for Rio 2016.

"We realised early preparations were a key to success in Rio and the race has already begun," said Keino, a former member of the International Olympic Committee. 

"Apart beginning preparations well in advance, we are also diversifying our disciplines.

"Athletics has been our greatest strength, and even if we want to do even better in this discipline, we also want to ensure that others are dynamic enough to produce medalists approaching Rio."

David Rudisha crossing line 800m London 2012David Rudisha set a world record when winning the Olympic 800 metres at London 2012 but was one of only three gold medallists from Kenya, leading to criticism back home

Perhaps the biggest shock of the elections came when Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat was defeated to the NOCK vice-presidency by Kenya Swimming Federation chair Ben Ekumbo.

Ekumbo, President of the African Swimming Confederation (CANA), crushed Kiplagat, a member of the ruling Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) who was re-elected to lead Athletics Kenya earlier this month, 24-3, while a third challenger, Commissioner for Sport Gordon Oluoch, withdrew at the last minute for unclear reasons.

In similar circumstances, Kenya Football Federation (KFF) boss Sam Nyamweya pulled out from the race for second vice-president, calling the election "a sham" and leaving his only rival Kenya Weightlifting Association (KWA) chair Pius Ochieng to win the seat unopposed.

"This is all tribal because Kipchoge and I come from the same community and it did not seem right," Kiplagat charged.

"They are also afraid of me because I question everything and they have never wanted me there in the first case.

"I don't know how they will operate without members from AK and football in NOCK but we shall continue preparing our athletes and we shall then see how they shall manage them.

"It is time NOCK hired a chief executive and technocrats and they need to change their constitution."

Nine members of the NOCK board regained their positions, although three officials - former first vice chairman Peter Nderitu, second vice chairman David Okeyo and committee member John Roberts - did not seek re-election.

Tegla Loroupe head and shouldersFormer women's world marathon record holder Tegla Loroupe was re-elected to the NOCK Athletes' Commission

Former marathon world record holders Paul Tergat and Tegla Loroupe were re-elected as athletes' representatives, with double Olympic marathon silver medallist Catherine Ndereba returning as a Committee member alongside Kenya Hockey Union chairman Resham Bains and Badminton Association chair Ann Njambi.

Francis Paul was elected unopposed as secretary general and Fridah Shiroya held on to her seat as treasurer.

Keino, who won Olympic gold medals in the 1500 metres at Mexico City 1968 and the 3,000m steeplechase at Munich 1972, said his priority now is to complete the multi-million dollar Olympic Plaza NOCK headquarters and review the constitution in what will be his final term in charge of the National Olympic Committee.

"We are now going to complete what we started and ensure that we complete our projects," he explained.

"I want to see that building completed and handed over.

"When people hear of 1.2 billion Kenyan shilling (£9 million/$14 million/€11 million), they want to come in and we cannot be sure they will do the right thing.

"World over, all sporting associations have the executive members allowed to vote and we cannot force anyone in.

"Personally, I would have wanted to have people from athletics and football in but what can we do?

"The elections were fair."

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