The world’s greatest marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge, may not participate in the London Marathon scheduled for April 26 after Athletics Kenya barred local athletes from travelling to international events because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
The announcement made on Thursday comes a day after the World Health Organization labelled coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
“Following a directive from the Government of Kenya and due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Athletics Kenya has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.
Many of the world’s top athletes that grace races across the globe come from Kenya and regularly win medals at premier competitions in the US, Asia and Europe.
The world’s greatest marathoner, Kipchoge, is scheduled to participate in the London Marathon but risks missing out should Kenyan not have reviewed the travel ban by then.
Some of the races scheduled for March and April include the New York City Half-Marathon (March 15) and Boston Marathon (April 20).
Even though Kenya has not yet confirmed a coronavirus case, Athletics Kenya said it wishes to protect its prized assets and the country from the virus.
“In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication,” Athletics Kenya said.
Several sporting events around the globe have been postponed or cancelled as countries seek to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Since the outbreak in Wuhan City, China late last year, the virus has killed 4,600 people and infected 126,000 globally.