That the first Diamond League meeting gets underway in Monaco, France, on August 14 is good news to Kenya’s world-beating stars.
But the excitement seemed to fade away after the European Union excluded Kenya from the list of nations and regions whose citizens are allowed into Schengen zone – as coronavirus restrictions around the globe continue to ease.
It is an unfortunate move given the huge earnings Kenyan athletes make from the meetings. Our athletes stand to miss six events in Europe
While Kenyan athletes are likely to miss the opening leg in Monaco, our Ugandan counterparts in world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei and others are on the start list.
Athletics Kenya was lost on how they can help since the move to present a petition to the European nations lies with the government. AK boss Jack Tuwei said Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed promised to petition the EU and UK embassies in Nairobi to allow our athletes to travel to Europe.
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Should they miss the visas, our athletes stand to lose money in race appearance fees, endorsements and prize money – subjecting them to further suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tuwei said the Sports CS had approached some envoys of the European countries to establish the process of clearing our athletes to compete in Europe. We hope Amina will reach a consensus with the envoys and have our athletes compete in Europe from next month.