Sports competitors barred from leaving Kenya for a month

Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei with Prince Harry

Both the 2019 London Marathon winners were Kenyan

There will be no travel to international events for the next month for Kenyan sportsmen and sportswomen over concerns about the global coronavirus outbreak, the country’s sports ministry has said.

The ministry said the travel ban will be “until further notice” but specified it was being applied immediately for a minimum of one month.

The ban will hit the Kenyan football team’s next away match against Comoros on 29 March, although they play the same opposition at home on 25 March – a match the country’s FA has already requested be cancelled.

Across Africa, various sporting events have been impacted as countries take measures to minimise the impact of the virus as it spreads around the world.

However, Kenya is the first country to prevent its athletes from leaving, rather than merely postponing or cancelling events.

“Following the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, the government has put in place measures to deal with the situation to safeguard the public and the country at large,” a statement from the Kenyan State Department of Sports said.

“In this regard, the Ministry wishes to inform you that there will be no more travel for international events until further notice and notably for the next one (1) month.

“Additionally, note that the earlier communication by the Cabinet Secretary for Health on local events of international nature applies.”

If the ban is extended past one month, Kenya’s iconic marathon pair of Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei could be prevented from defending their London Marathon crowns on 26 April – assuming that event goes ahead.


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