Paul Tergat is expected to run for the National Olympic Committee of Kenya Presidency ©Getty Images

Distance running legend Paul Tergat has emerged as a leading contender in the race to lead the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) after officially announcing plans to stand today. 

Tergat, the former marathon world record holder, appointed a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2013, is one of four figures to have indicated interest in the top job.

Waithaka Kioni and Richard Omwela, the respective heads of Kenya Volleyball and Kenya Rugby, are also expected to stand.

Current chair Kipchoge Keino is also expected to attempt to seek another term.

He should be ruled ineligible, however, because of a rule change introduced in new statutes finally passed this week after months of wrangling.

Under the new constitution, all candidates must have been affiliated to a National Federation for at least a year.

A meeting is due to take place on April 5 to finalise electoral rules.

The election is then scheduled for exactly a month later on May 5.

Tergat is a life member of Athletics Kenya, so would be nominated by them. 

The 47-year-old is a five-time world cross country champion and double Olympic silver medallist, whose marathon world record of 2 hours 04min 55sec stood from 2003 until 2007. 

Kipchoge Keino, right, is the current head of the NOCK but is set to be barred from standing this time around ©Getty Images
Kipchoge Keino, right, is the current head of the NOCK but is set to be barred from standing this time around ©Getty Images

"After serving the nation as an athlete for more than two decades, today marks another new chapter as I join another race in my career," Tergat said in an official statement declaring his interests.

"For a long time, I have watched from the periphery in as far as the management of sports is concerned. 

"At times, I have played peripheral role just to ensure that the interests of athletes are taken care of.

"However, time has come for me to lead from the front and it’s an idea I have thought of very carefully and consulted widely, too. 

"I am sure you are aware of the push and pull we have had at the National Olympic Committee Kenya over the adoption of a new constitution in the last few months.

"However, the course is now clear with the passing of the new document and we can only look to the future with confidence."

NOCK has been in crisis since it was disbanded by the country's Sports Minister Hassan Wario following Rio 2016.

Officials were accused of accommodation and travel mishaps in the Brazilian city, including the "mishandling of accreditation" and kits allegedly never reaching athletes.

A road-map towards a new constitution and elections was introduced by the IOC last year but has suffered repeated delays.

A NOCK General Assembly meeting at the beginning of the month ended in deadlock after an Executive Board-supported majority voted against new statutes, despite an IOC demand that they must be approved.

IOC patience appeared close to breaking point, with the organisation then "putting on hold all payments of subsidies to the NOCK".

But this will be lifted pending successful elections.

"The IOC is extremely satisfied with the recent developments, in line with the roadmap agreed upon in Lausanne," a spokesperson told insidethegames.

"We welcome the NOC’s efforts in making this happen in close collaboration with all parties involved. 

"The IOC will continue to monitor the situation closely with the NOC until the NOC Elective General Assembly."

Kenya has faced months of problems since the Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
Kenya has faced months of problems since the Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Ben Ekumbo is expected to be nominated by Swimming Kenya to defend his seat as first Deputy President. 

He resigned as President of Swimming Kenya in January after being arrested on suspicion of hoarding stolen kit - so may be ruled ineligible.

Kenya Judo President Shadrack Maluki is also expected to stand.

Kenya Table Tennis Federation President Andrew Mudibo, a leading reforming figure in recent weeks, is one of three candidates expected to stand for secretary general.

Incumbent FK Paul is expected to defend his seat as a representative of Kenya Handball Federation.

James Chacha also wants to stand but is unaffiliated so is not expected to be allowed to go forward.

Elinyah Shiveka, the Deputy President of the Kenya Hockey Union, and Antony Kariuki, treasurer of the Kenya Wrestling Federation, are expected to go head to head for the treasurer position.