African 800m silver medalists Emmanuel Korir has called on athletes to utilise their celebrity status to lead the fight against coronavirus.
Korir, who has his training base in Texas, USA, says sportspeople have the best chance to lead society to maintain hygiene and adhere to the government directive of self-quarantine and stay at home to be able to flatten the curve of Covid-19 pandemic.
With almost no sporting events being organised globally, Korir says while they have borne losses brought on by the coronavirus, losing millions in endorsement, sponsorship and prize money, they must always look at the big picture and be safe and help others to abide by health directives to limit the damage on society.
Korir, 24, says athletes have always endured challenges in training, including injuries, and they should always be positive because the pandemic will soon be a thing of the past. Korir had been primed to succeed Olympic champion David Rudisha. However, tactical problems and strong competition have limited his rise in previous competitions.
Meanwhile, Kenya will need to spend more to prepare the team for the Tokyo Olympic Games after it was pushed back to 2021.
Kenya had set aside a budget of 600 million shillings (about 6 million U.S. dollars) for the games up from the 5.4 million dollars spent on Rio 2016.
Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary said all athletes must stay safe and practice social distancing in individual training as the country fights the Covid-19 pandemic. Kenya has reported close to 200 positive cases with seven deaths and nine recoveries so far.
“The sports calendar has been affected in the entire world. It is a big loss and we all agree to postpone sports,” Amina said.