By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Kenyan athletes will not attend a major marathon in Tanzania because of concerns about the coronavirus, Kenya’s athletics body said Wednesday.
Three days before the event that is expected to host more than 9,000 runners from across the world, Athletics Kenya (AK) said in a statement that it informed “our athletes that due to the global outbreak and spread of COVID-19, Athletics Kenya will not be issuing authorization for athletes’ participation at the 2021 Kilimanjaro Marathon to be held in Tanzania on 28th February 2020.”
AK warned athletes “not to travel to Tanzania for the event.”
Organizers in Tanzania set up preventive measures for the race.
“We would like to appeal to our runners to please take the necessary precautions in terms of socially distancing norms and to wear the approved Personal Protective Equipment/Masks when starting, participating and finishing in their respective events,” the marathon said in a statement.
“We will be ‘seeding’ runners based on their honest input of their running times to allow for a staggered socially distanced start in all 3 races, so we appeal to all participants to indicate clearly on their entry application which seeding batch they would be most suitable for — elite/fast/medium/slow,” it said in explaining how social distancing will be achieved.
But nations across the world are not convinced by the measures as the East African nation is among a few countries not to share publicly coronavirus infections.
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli previously urged citizens not to observe internationally-recognized measures to curb the spread of the disease.