December 31 - Kenya's lone Winter Olympics athlete Philip Boit (pictured) has confirmed he will take part in his fourth and last Olympics in Vancouver next year.

Boit, who has been training in Finland for the past year, is gearing up to compete in the cross country skiing in Vancouver and is feeling confident that there will be a marked improvement in his last Olympic performance.

He said: "I am really pleased to be representing Kenya in next year's Winter Olympics.

"It's a big achievement and a great opportunity to be the only Kenyan and one of the very few Africans at the Games.

"I have been training since January this year and I am glad that during training I have improved on my skiing compared to other years."

During training, this year Boit broke his past personal bests in the 10 and 15  kilometres cross-country ski competitions.

He said: "My previous timing was 30:10 in the 10km but my new best time is 26:35 and for the 15km cross country, it was 47:17 but my best time now is 40:09."

Boit is being supported by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) and will be accompanied to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics by secretary general , Francis K Paul, who has been instrumental in Boit's participation at the Olympics.

The 38-year-old from Eldoret, a former middle-distance runner, only  took up cross country skiing in February 1996 under a special scheme initially sponsored by Nike and appeared at the Nagano Olympics only two years later, finishing 92nd and last.

Norwegian winner Bjørn Dæhlie waited to greet him as he crossed the finishing line and gave him a hug.

The experience was so moving for Boit that he named one of his sons Dæhlie Boit.

Boit, the nephew of Mike Boit, the 1972 Olympic 800 metres bronze medallist, has subsequently competed at Salt Lake City in 2002 - where he finished 64th in the sprint race, ahead of three other competitors - and Turin in 2006 (pictured) - coming home in 92nd, with five rivals behind him.

Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, Ross Hynes, said:  "In 2010, Canada will have the honour of hosting the Olympic Games for the third time.

"It is truly exciting to see an athlete from Kenya, a country that does not experience snow or the winter season, participate in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to be held in Canada, I wish him the best."