By Duncan Mackay

pamela-jelimoPamela Jelimo_with_Janeth_Jepkosgei_Busienei_Beijing_2008January 9 - Kenya is hoping to enter its biggest ever team at this year's Olympics in London and beat the record total of 14 medals, including six gold, it won at Beijing four years ago. 

The biggest team Kenya has sent to a Games since it made its debut at Melbourne in 1956 was at Athens in 2004.

Then they were represented by 94 competitors.

At Beijing that figure was drastically reduced to 48 but the team still produced Kenya's best-ever performance in the Olympics with its track and field squad claiming all 14 of its medals, including Pamela Jelimo (pictured above with Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei), who won the women's 800 metres, as the country finished third in the athletics medals table behind the United States and Russia.

But Kip Keino, the 1968 Olympic 1500m and 1972 3000m steeplechase gold medallist, who is now the President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) has challenged them to do even better in London.

"The country has many youths who can do better," said Keno.

"But we have not done enough to expose them and train them.

"We will try to do that this time round so that we may maximize on the medal prospects from the Games."

Those that are successful have already been promised financial incentives. 

Paul Otuoma_head_and_shoulders"We want to honour you," said Kenya's Sports Minister Paul Otuoma (pictured).

"We will give out cash rewards as always and then see what we can add.

"Maybe Land or cars.

"But athletes must be given good recognition for their determination and struggle to raise the country flag high."

Keino also challenged Kenya's other sports to raise to the standard set by the track and field team. 

Kenya has won a total of 75 medals, but 68 of them have come in athletics with the reminder in boxing, the last of which was at Seoul in 1988 when Robert Wangila won the gold in the welterweight division.

But there hopes in London for swimmer Jason Dunford, who finished fifth in the 100m freestyle behind Michael Phelps in Beijing.

"Kenya has many youths who can excel in any discipline," said Keino.

"These need to be done with urgency so that we widen our medal scope for the London Olympics.

"Dependence on track and field alone is not good for a sporting nation like ours."

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