Last updated 26 days ago | By Jonathan Komen
The nation was omitted from countries and regions whose citizens were allowed to travel into Schengen member states.
Kenyan authorities have started lobbying the European Union to have the country’s athletes allowed to compete at international events on the continent when the athletics season resumes in August.
Kenya was omitted from the list of countries and regions whose citizens are allowed to travel into Schengen states when the EU opened its borders last week even as Covid-19 restrictions around the world continue to ease.
Kenyan stars were missing from the roster for the August 14 Monaco Diamond League season-opening meeting, where athletes such as Uganda’s world champion Joshua Cheptengei were announced in the field.
Ministry of Sports, with the support of Athletics Kenya (AK), on Monday confirmed to journalists that they were engaging EU embassies in Nairobi to allow Kenyan athletes to compete in Europe.
“Our athletes have suffered a lot since the lockdown was instituted and we don’t want them to suffer further if they can get a chance to go and compete in Europe,” AK President Jackson Tuwei told Citizen TV on Monday.
The AK chief affirmed that a team from AK and the Ministry of Sport had already approached some envoys of the countries in question to establish the process of having Kenyans cleared to run in Europe.
The development comes on the day when Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the partial lifting of restrictions in place to combat Covid-19, although the resumption of sporting activity that has been suspended since March was not on the list.
Yesterday, AK executive member Barnabas Korir said Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed promised to take up the matter on Schengen states visas.
“As a federation, we approached the Sports CS who promised to get in touch with European Union countries. This is a matter that is government to government. So, we are still waiting for her responses. We are hopeful that all will be well,” he said.
Meanwhile British sprinter Bianca Williams said she had “never had to experience anything like this”, after being stopped by police in her car in London.
Williams, 26, and her partner Ricardo dos Santos have accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling and acting violently towards them.
“It’s a really sad world that we live in and if it’s not one black man, it’s another black man,” a tearful Williams said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “My heart just hurts.”
Williams said she and Dos Santos - who had their three-month-old son in the car - are considering legal action.
She added: “It was just weird that we were treated that way and what hurt me the most was me being dragged away from my son.”
Williams and Portuguese 400m record holder Dos Santos, 25, fear they were targeted because they are black and drive a Mercedes.