Nairobi World U20 Championships postponed

Nairobi World U20 Championships postponed
A view of the Moi International Sports Stadium, Kasarani. (PHOTO/Kasarani)

The 2020 World Athletics Championships has been postponed, the global governing body announced Tuesday as major sports events continued to tumble under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.

That announcement followed an earlier confirmation from Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) that it had pushed the Tokyo 2020 Games, due to begin on July 24, to next year.

Athletes have been unable to train due to closed facilities and restricted access to coaches and training partners, throwing doubt on the viability of the events as the world continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“The current global situation would have seriously compromised the event at this time as many countries are restricting international travel, invoking necessary quarantines and advising citizens and event organisers to avoid mass gatherings.

“We had to consider the health and well-being of athletes, officials and spectators in making this call. We recognise the immense preparations that have gone into the event and wanted to give certainty to the athletes as early as possible as we collectively come to terms with the global impact and threats associated with COVID-19,” World Athletics said in a statement.

Kenya was awarded hosting rights for the championship in July 2018 after hosting an outstanding World U18 Championship in Nairobi the year earlier, attracting record crowds and creating an exciting atmosphere for the young athletes who had gathered from around the globe.

No alternative date has been set for the event with World Athletics stating it would work to identify a ‘mutually appropriate’ timeline with the Kenyan Government of Kenya and the competitors.

“We sincerely thank His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and his administration for their support in planning this event.

The Local Organising Committee will continue with the preparations as we engage on new dates which we hope to announce in the coming weeks.”

Last week, Athletics Kenya (AK) ordered the closure of training camps and clubs and said it was halting physical meetings for the next month, urging athletes who had traveled outside the country over the last two weeks to self-quarantine.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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