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Quarantine order to affect Kenya 7s, tennis teams

Wednesday March 18 2020

Kenya's Billy Odhiambo (centre) cuts through the Samoa defence during their match on day two of the 2020 HSBC Los Angeles Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park on March 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, United States. PHOTO | MIKE LEE |

Kenya's Billy Odhiambo (centre) cuts through the Samoa defence during their match on day two of the 2020 HSBC Los Angeles Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park on March 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, United States. PHOTO | MIKE LEE |  AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya Sevens rugby team and Davis Cup tennis squad could be affected by the latest directive on self-quarantine from the government as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed directed all sportspersons, including coaches and support personnel in teams which have travelled outside the country in the past 14 days, to immediately self-quarantine for two weeks.

Amina also ordered that all public sporting facilities be closed down for the next 30 days.

Kenya Sevens team competed in the fifth and sixth legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas and Vancouver and returned home on March 10. Kenya’s Davis Cup team competed in the first round of the play-offs of World Group II tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia, and returned home on March 8.

Kenya’s Canoe Slalom team arrived back in the country on March 13 after their 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifier was cancelled while the athletes were already in Hinnigue, France.

“We not only had the Davis Cup team but other individual players outside the country whom we have advised to strictly follow the government’s directive. It’s for their own benefit and also for those close to them,” said Tennis Kenya president James Kenani.

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However, Amina said in a press statement that athletes preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be granted access to training facilities, but the State Department of Sports will guide the process.

“Heads of sports organisations to ensure that this directive is adhered to," Amina said in a statement on Monday, adding that contractors engaged in ongoing works at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, Nyayo National Stadium, among other venues, will receive instructions from the Principal Secretary for Sports and Director-General of Sports Kenya.

Director-General of Sports Kenya Pius Metto announced last week that Kasarani Stadium would be closed for renovations beginning last Monday. Metto said Nyayo National Stadium, which has been closed to the public, would be opened for use this week.

Amina said that all privately managed cultural studios and sports training facilities must also strictly enforce the March 15 presidential directive.
“In the interest of the public, the ministry will periodically monitor compliance,” said Amina.

Already, Kenyan athletes have been training at Nyayo National Stadium. The Beyond Zero Half Marathon took place at the venue on March 8.

Kasarani Stadium is preparing to host the World Athletics Continental Tour on May 2 and the World Under-20 Athletics Championships from July 7 to 12.

Amina explained that Steering and Local Organising Committees set up to organise national and international sporting and cultural activities will set up virtual meeting tools to facilitate continued high-level preparations for these events.

They include the World Athletics Continental Tour, 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the 10th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting, World Athletics Under-20 and Safari Rally, a World Rally Championship Series event.

There is also the Safari Rally that is due July 16-17, which forms the eighth round of the WRC Series.

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