Kenya bars athletes from global travel over virus

Published March 13, 2020
The announcement could affect some high-profile races over the next few weeks. — AFP/File
The announcement could affect some high-profile races over the next few weeks. — AFP/File

NAIROBI: Kenya’s athletics authority said on Thursday it had barred its athletes from travelling to international events due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement could affect some high-profile races over the next few weeks, including the highly-anticipated showdown at the London Marathon between Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, the only men to go under two hours, two minutes for the distance. The race is scheduled for April 26.

More than 126,000 people have been infected globally by the virus and more than 4,600 have died, according to a Reuters tally based on official announcements.

The East African nation, which has not had a confirmed case of the virus, boasts some of the world’s top athletes, who regularly win medals at premier competitions in Europe, Asia and North America.

“Following a directive from the Government of Kenya and due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Athletics Kenya has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.

“In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication.”

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2020

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