AK lauds World Athletics decision to cancel global event set for March

Friday, January 31st, 2020 00:00 |

Athletics Kenya (AK) has welcomed the move by the World Athletics to cancel the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China because of fears over the spread of coronavirus.

The championships were to run from March 13-15 but the sport’s global governing body has now postponed it to March 2021.

“I think it was the right call for everyone involved. It couldn’t have been right to endanger the lives of athletes and officials given the situation in China,” said AK vice president Mutwii, who is also in charge of the competitions docket.

Mutwii, however, refused to comment on whether Kenya could have sent the team to China anyway had the event not been pushed back and not followed the example of Great Britain who had pulled out of the championships even before World Athletics’ decision.

World Athletics sought advice from the World Health Organisation and turned down offers to host the event in other cities.

The coronavirus has killed more than 170 people in China and has spread to 16 countries already. The epicentre of the outbreak is the Chinese city of Wuhan, around 370 miles from Nanjing.

Around 6,000 people in all have been infected by the virus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation warned the “whole world needs to be on alert”.

A World Athletics statement read: “The advice from our medical team, who are in contact with the World Health Organisation, is that the spread of the coronavirus both within China and outside the country is still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed.”

The last Indoor Championships was held in Birmingham in 2018.

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