Rongai Athletics Club, just outside Nairobi, in Kenya, has shut its doors amid the global spread of Covid-19.
Bernard Ouma, coach of world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot and 2017 world 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi, has been forced to close the club, and the athletes have returned home.
“The pandemic is affecting all across the world and we stand with the victims of coronavirus and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones,” said Ouma.
“I appreciate the measures taken by the Kenyan federal and county governments to control an imminent spike of the coronavirus by giving directives to control the social gathering and social distancing, and recommendation to regularly sanitise, and washing of hands.
“Closing athletics camps and clubs indefinitely was one of the recent measures. It is a dream of every athlete to have the opportunity to compete at the highest level like the Olympics. This requires adequate and uninterrupted preparation. Rongai Athletics Club, just like many other athletics clubs, is closed and athletes are left to train in isolation.
“As far as my training approach is concerned, this high level of training plan encompasses cohesiveness and teamwork, which is practically not possible in these circumstances. The coronavirus is locally stigmatised, having the athletes in constant fear and panic mode, completely hampering training. Who wants to turn up at the Olympics half prepared?
“Given the interruptions, many probable competitors who haven’t yet made the qualifying standards are now unlikely to achieve them.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo