FILE: Chairman Kenya Volleyball Federation Waithaka Kioni in Nairobi during NOCK media briefing towards the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics preparations. Oct 4, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The plan for Kenyan athletes to train in the Japanese City of Kurume before the Tokyo Olympics Games has been cancelled due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in Japan.

The announcement comes two months after the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and Kurume City officials entered a partnership where Kenyan athletes were to train in the city before the Olympics Games.

In a statement sent to Standard Sports on Wednesday morning, Team Kenya’s Chef de Mission to Tokyo Olympics Mr Waithaka Kioni said that Kurume City officials scrapped plans for pre-Olympics training because of the resurgent Covid-19 pandemic in Japan.

“Kindly note that Kurume City has sent a communication indicating that they will not host our teams for the previously agreed pre-games training camp,” said Mr Waithaka.

“They have cited the continuing surge in Covid-19 pandemic in Japan as the reason for the withdrawal.”

NOC-K had on Monday revealed that Kenya’s team for the Games were preparing to leave for a pre-Olympic training camp in Kurume City on July 5 where they were to intensify their training before heading to Tokyo five days to the Games kick-off.

“All Team Managers have been notified of this development and requested to plan local training accordingly,” Mr Waithaka added.

With 53 days remaining until the start of the Games, 90 athletes have qualified for the Games -that is 39 men and 51 women.

Karate, shooting, Athletics, triathlon, judo, weightlifting, Canoe and rowing and beach volleyball are yet to finalise their qualification paths.

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