Nairobi events still on the cards: Coe

Monday March 30 2020
omanyala_pix

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala does some hill work training near Ngomongo Police Post, Kasarani on March 20, 2020. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe on March 27 said new dates for the World Under-20 Championships and Nairobi Continental Tour, to be hosted by Nairobi will be considered once conditions are declared right for competition to take place. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

By ELIAS MAKORI

Fresh dates for the Continental Tour and World Under-20 Championships, both programmed for Kenya but rescheduled owing to the coronavirus pandemic, are still under discussion by World Athletics.

The global federation’s President Seb Coe said the fresh dates can only be worked out once the pandemic has been tamed and conditions declared right for athletes.

Nairobi was pencilled to host the newly-launched Continental Tour on May 2, followed by the World Under-20 Championships from July 7 to 12, with both competitions scheduled for Moi International Spots Centre, Kasarani.

But with the Olympic Games and other major competitions, including six legs of the top-tier Diamond League series, put on hold as the world fights the coronavirus pandemic, the Nairobi events were also affected.

Responding to a question from Nation Sport on the fate of the two competitions, Coe said the priority now was to monitor the situation and ensure a safe environment for the athletes.

He expressed confidence in the directors of the various one-day meetings, including Nairobi’s Continental Tour, and expressed optimism that the all programmed events will eventually be held.

“The priority for us, and particularly for many of your (Kenyan) athletes, of course is to get them back into competition as soon as we can,” Coe said in a teleconference on Friday evening.

“We need to get the Continental Tour and Diamond League circuit up and running when it’s not risking the health of the athletes.

“We are working alongside great organising committees and great meeting directors and so there’s no lack of ambition to do that.

“It’s just the uncertainty over when the world will be secure for the athletes in those competitive events.”

World Athletics is already inundated with postponements forced by the coronavirus pandemic with the 10-leg Continental Tour unlikely to kick off in the next three months, at the earliest, given that all competitions leading up to June have been put on hold indefinitely.

Heavy maintenance works are currently being undertaken at the Moi International Sports Centre which is programmed to host both the Continental Tour and World Under-20 championships.