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NOC-K asks federations to stay ready for Olympic qualifiers

Saturday March 28 2020
By AYUMBA AYODI

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) has asked its affiliate federations to initiate dialogue with the respective International Federations where qualifying events were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NOC-K secretary general Francis Mutuku said they had received communication from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that all the disciplines that had qualified their sportsmen and women for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games will not go through the qualifying process again.

IOC, in a teleconference with its affiliates on Friday, indicated that they have formed a task force to look into the new dates for the disciplines that had not completed their qualifying process.

“Under exceptional circumstances, there will increase on quotas based on a case by case analysis and decision making in every discipline at the Olympics,” said Mutuku, adding that all necessary adaptations and allocation of qualification quotas will be based on sports results based on International Federations revised calendars.

The IOC and the Japanese government on Tuesday postponed the Tokyo Olympics that were to be held from July 24 to August 9 to 2021 where the Games must be held not after next Summer.

IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a teleconference that it wasn’t viable to stage the Games as scheduled owing to the disruption caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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“We are delighted to report that the IOC through the Tokyo 2020 Working group/Task force has established distinct and well set plans to ensure that the Olympic Games are held perfectly,” said Mutuku in a statement.

In the words of the Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo, “the perfect delivery of the Olympic Games by Japan, will be a true testament that humankind can conquer the Covid-19 virus.”

“NOC-K is in support of the IOC decisions and actions to ensure that the Olympic Games are held before the summer of 2021,” said Mutuku.

Since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Wuhan, China, Mutuku said there have been concerns raised by federations and NOC’s on the qualifications and qualification systems. This is especially so, given the government and social restrictions imposed curtailing optimal training of athletes.

Around 57 per cent of the expected 11,000 sportsmen and women had qualified for the Games before the qualifying processes was halted as the world grapples to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Kenya has three teams that have so far qualified; Kenya Sevens and Kenya Lionesses in sevens rugby and Malkia Strikers, the women’s volleyball team.

Swimming had already been given two wild cards for a man and woman while boxing had qualified Nick Okoth (featherweight) and Christine Ong’are (flyweight).

Also to qualify were Faith Ogalo in tae kwon-do and para rower Asia Sururu.

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