Kenyan athletes react after cancellation of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

By Mohammed Awal: Wednesday, March 25th 2020 at 13:27 GMT +3 | Athletics
Eliud Kipchoge[Photo, Courtesy]

Kenyan athletes have expressed feelings of regret and relief after the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Eighty-seven (87) athletes were set to represent the country in this year’s showdown that was set for July 24 to August 9.

While most athletes expressed support for the postponement, a tinge of regret could be read from their statement having in mind the amount of time they had put in training in preparation for Tokyo 2020.

“It’s been all fun and smiles and happiness preparing for this year’s Tokyo Olympics but then the unexpected came- Covid -19, terrible and scaring respiratory disease but it’s all upon us to compete against…,” said Olympics Javelin silver medalist Julius Yego on Twitter.

On his part, the first man to run 40km Eliud Kipchoge under two hours expressed confidence that he will defend his marathon Olympic Gold medal once the coronavirus pandemic has been defeated.

"All in all, a very wise decision to postpone the Olympics until 2021. I look forward to coming back to Japan to defend my Olympic title next year and look forward to witnessing a wonderful event. I wish everybody good health in these challenging times,” Eliud Kipchoge posted on his Facebook page.

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The Government on its part supported the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone this year’s Olympics.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said on Tuesday Kenya understands that it was no easy decision, but it was on the highest regard for Olympism, the welfare of the current or would-be Olympians and the interest of the human race.

“We are extremely proud of all our athletes and celebrate their discipline, resilience and understanding of this decision. We especially single out their solidarity to educate communities on safety measures to combat Covid-19, a clear testament to their unwavering patriotism and admirable brotherhood,” said CS Mohamed.

The National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOC-K) also lauded the decision by the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"We at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya are delighted to support the International Olympic Committee move to postpone the Olympic Games. In the wake of the challenges posed by the spread of Covid 19, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were unfeasible and too risky to undertake," NOC-K said in a statement signed by the acting secretary-general Francis Mutuku.

The World Athletics U20 Championships, that was scheduled to take place in Nairobi on July 7-12, 2020, was postponed over COVID-19 fears.

The decision was announced late in the evening on Tuesday, a few hours after IOC postponed the 2020 Summer Games to next year.

A new date will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

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