•“I hope the spread of coronavirus is contained and we have this event at the end of the year because next year’s calendar is already congested following the postponement of several events. It’s a sad state of affairs for us as an athletics family,” said Ochieng.
•On Tuesday night, World Athletics, government of Kenya and Athletics Kenya announced the postponement of the under 20 championships which were to be staged in Nairobi as from July 7 to 21.
Athletes, coaches and Athletics Kenya (AK) officials have expressed their disappointment over the indefinite postponement of the World Athletics U20 Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday night, World Athletics, the government of Kenya and Athletics Kenya announced the postponement of the under-20 championships which were to be staged in Nairobi from July 7 to 21.
On Wednesday, AK Nyanza North chairman, Joseph Ochieng, who was in charge of the Nyanza North camp at Sang’oro High School in Nyakach, said it was unfortunate that the championship was postponed.
“I hope the spread of coronavirus is contained and we have this event at the end of the year because next year’s calendar is already congested following the postponement of several events. It’s a sad state of affairs for us as an athletics family,” said Ochieng.
Other events that have been moved to next year are the Tokyo Olympics, World Indoor Games, Africa Cross Country Championships, and Africa Senior Athletics Championships. Others are the World Athletics Championships in Oregon and the World Cross Country Championships in Australia.
“It is very disheartening for the athletes who have been training for this event. This was a perfect event for some to launch their international career but the development means they may not get the opportunity to run at this level because they are graduating to senior level,” said Ochieng who is also a World Athletics Race Walk judge.
World U18 400m silver medalist and Africa U20 gold medallist Mary Moraa said: “It’s sad that U20 and Olympics have been postponed. I was looking forward to the events but it’s beyond our control. I’m hoping that coronavirus is contained because I have events lined up in August and September.”
“We earn our living from athletics and this pandemic has hit us hard. We will, however, keep our hopes alive,” added Moraa, who has transitioned from 400m to 800m. She is targeting to run sub 2 minutes before the end of the year.
Haron Onchong’a, coach and former principal at Mogonga PAG High School which is one of the camps identified to train athletes ahead of the WU20, said most of the athletes training at the camp are disappointed. Onchong’a was the camp manager for Mogonga which had 94 athletes last year.
“I have spoken to some of the athletes and encouraged them to continue training on their own because World Athletics did not give a definite date. The move to postpone the event is welcome but World Athletics should have the event held this year if the coronavirus menace is controlled,” said Onchong’a.