Kenya Pulls Out of Winter Olympics in Beijing

Sabrina Simader
Austrian born Kenyan Sabrina Wanjiku who is an Alpine skier

Kenya will not participate in this year’s Winter Olympics which is scheduled to be held from 4th – 20th February 2022 in Beijing, China.

Kenya has participated in the last four editions including the 2018 edition of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Kenya however has no athletes to represent the country in this year’s event.

There were two Olympics and one Paralympics hopefuls on the path to Beijing 2022, namely Sabrina Simader (Alpine skiing), Dennis Moronge (Cross-country skiing) and Daniel Safari Katheku (Para skiing).

Daniel Katheku, has been training through scholarships in South Korea and USA, but due to travel restriction he was unable to honour qualification events in the last two years.

Dennis Moronge, a resident in Czech Republic was in the path line to Olympics, but restrictions in Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic made him miss out on qualification events to gain enough points for Beijing.

Sabrina Simader was the only one who had met the qualification standard. NOC-K had seen great potential in her, disbursing Kshs. 8 million in the last 3 years towards her training and preparation.

She however required more financial resources to sufficiently train for the specific event in which she qualifies in Beijing and therefore felt she wasn’t well prepared, opting instead to focus on World Championships and tours this year with a clear focus of preparing for the next Olympics.

The Austria-based 23-year-old made history as the first Kenyan speed skier to compete at an Olympics when she finished 38th in the super-G at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

“She, however required more financial resources to sufficiently train for the specific event in which she qualified in Beijing, and therefore felt she wasn’t well prepared,” National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) said. 

Simader, who suffered a knee injury during training in October, and only started skiing again in mid-January, was expected to compete in the super-G and perhaps another event in Beijing. 

She took part in the Super-G at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina but was disqualified.

Kenya has participated in four Winter Olympics in the last 23 years, with cross country skier Philip Boit being the first competitor in the 1998 Nagano Games.

Boit also competed in the 2002 and 2006 Games in Salt Lake City and Turin respectively.