Kenyan athletes vent frustration as Diamond League postpones meetings

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NAIROBI, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan athletes will have to persevere more as three more Diamond League meetings have been postponed indefinitely owing to the coronavirus threat.

World Athletics announced on Friday that alongside Qatar and China, who had already confirmed their intention to push back their competition to such a date that will be ideal to the organizers, fans and athletes, three more events will not be taking place as per schedule. Thus, the start of the track and field season will not be due until after May as countries continue to implement lockdown and no social gatherings to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Diamond League today postpones three more meetings which had been scheduled to take place in May. An alternative calendar for the 2020 season is to be announced in due course," World Athletics said in a statement. "This follows the deferral of early-season events in Qatar and China last week."

Accordingly, athletes who have been continuing with their training including world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, Commonwealth Games winner Elijah Manangoi, Olympic champ Faith Kipyegon, Africa 800m silver medalist Emmanuel Korir and a horde of others, will continue counting losses as there are no sports competition to take part in.

"The series has decided to also suspend meetings in Stockholm (May 24), Naples/Rome (May 28) and Rabat (May 31). The decision was made in close consultation with all the relevant parties. The dynamic global spread of the COVID-19 disease, the travel restrictions expected to be in force for some time and above all concerns over athlete safety have made it impossible to stage the competitions as planned," said the statement.

However, the World Athletics Athletes' Commission said "We have begun working with World Athletics to explore the possibility of providing athletes with competition opportunities this year, provided that it is safe to do so. Additionally. We expect to be part of the review process of the current Olympic qualification system, and will ensure that athletes' concerns are taken into consideration before any amendments to that system are implemented."

And the Diamond League remains committed to delivering a structured extensive season in 2020.

"The aim is to ensure that athletes can compete at the highest possible level this year, and that fans will be able to see their favorite stars in action, whenever the global health situation allows," the Dialogue League said.

"New dates for Diamond League events will be announced in cooperation with the World Athletics Global Calendar Unit as soon as the extraordinary situation makes a reliable plan possible," it said. Enditem

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