When a virus put a stop to Olympic Games

Monday, December 14th, 2020 00:00 | By
Tokyo Olympics.

Since the opening of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the competition had only been cancelled three times, once during First World War and twice during the Second World War.

The fourth time was to come when  the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which as of now has killed more than  1, 657,000 people globally with over 69 million cases reported, forced the cancellation of the 2020 Olympics in Japan and many other sporting events across the world.

Due to the pandemic, the International Olympic Committee and then Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe postponed the event to next year, where it will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The World Athletics Under-20 Championships that was to be held in Nairobi was also postponed to 2021.

The global age group event had been scheduled for July 7-12  at the Kasarani stadium but, luckily for Kenya, the new dates have been set for August 17-22 2021 at the same venue.

Adverse effects

 It was not only track and field events that were affected.  Six  World Marathon Majors  — Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York, and Tokyo —  were postponed.

London was the lone major marathon that held as an elite-only race in a closed course on October 4. 

Away from the road races, the Diamond League postponed its first five meetings of the 2020 season that were due to be held in April and May in Qatar, China, Stockholm, Naples and Rabat.

While some races did take place in August and September, most of the Kenya athletes were locked out of travelling and competing due to the adverse effects of the virus.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships which were scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, were postponed until 2023.

The World Para Athletics European Championships scheduled to take place in Poland, from June 2-7, were  postponed to 2021.

At the continental stage, Kenyan athletes missed out on the opportunity to grace the sixth Africa Cross country Championships that were slated for Lome, Togo, on April 8.

Africa Athletics Senior Championships that were set for Algiers, Algeria,   in June were also postponed to 2021.

Locally,  Athletics Kenya was forced to postpone their weekend meet events, national trials  as well as national championships.

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