Step up security during major sporting events

Security officers keep vigil after chaos engulfed past matches during the Koth Biro tournament semi-finals at Ziwani grounds. [File, Standard]

The sports fraternity is once again in shock following a terrorist attack during a global athletics competition. It is agonising for sports men and women to train and prepare for championships only to be attacked during the moment they had all looked forward to.

Last Saturday, 18 Kenyan athletes escaped unhurt after three explosions left at least 19 people, including three children, injured during an international sports event in Buea in Cameroon.

The locally-made bomb exploded just 30 minutes after the over 500 athletes from 15 countries, who were taking part in the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, started the race at Molyko Stadium.

Despite the gloom, Kenyan athletes dominated the junior categories this year with 15-year-old Eileen Chepkoech winning gold in the junior female category and 17-year-old Amos Langat winning in the junior male category.

The attack is not the first one of its kind. On April 15, 2013, there was a terrorist attack at the 117th Boston Marathon, the oldest 42km run in the world. Two bombs went off near the the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 other people.

After an intense manhunt, police captured one of the suspects, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose older brother and fellow suspect, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died following a shootout with law enforcement.

Kenya's Rita Jeptoo won the race, which traversed through eight Bay State towns and cities, in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 25 seconds. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, the men's winner, finished with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds.

While we applaud organisers -international federations , host federations and host nations - for incorporating security agencies in their secretariat and the Local Organising Committees from the host nations, more should be done to secure sporting events, especially from terrorism. Security should be a major consideration during bidding for major sports events. Insecurity should never again be allowed to kill the sporting joy.