Barthés Trophy postponed due to coronavirus
The 2020 Under-20 Barthés Trophy has been postponed to a later date over the fears of the novel coronavirus pandemic which continue to disrupt global sporting activities.
The event was scheduled to be held in Nairobi from April 19 to 26 but Rugby Africa in consultation with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and World Rugby have decided to put the youthful fiesta on hold.
According to the Rugby Africa president Khaled Babbou, the move came following the Kenyan government decision to postpone all conferences and meetings of an international nature in Kenya for the next 30 days.
“The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kenya has issued an update on COVID-19 on the 6th of March. Among other points it states: ‘The Government has, with immediate effect banned all meetings, conferences and events of international nature in Kenya,” Babbou said in a statement.
He went on; “As much as Rugby Africa, the host and most of all the young players are looking forward to the continental U20 competition in Nairobi, we need to take every precaution we possibly can from our side to protect our players and support the fight against the Coronavirus as set out by the authorities. The tournament is not cancelled, but only postponed to a later date which we will communicate in due time.”
On his part, KRU chairman Oduor Gangla welcomed the move to postpone the event citing the importance of taking precaution.
“As a host union the safety and welfare of the participants is at the heart of our endeavours. We support Rugby Africa and the Kenyan authorities in their protective measures to our best abilities and therefore fully support the decision,” he said.
The Barthés Trophy is the only junior tournament in Africa and was set to attract eight countries namely; Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia.
The new development comes barely a week after the 2020 Magical Kenya Open which was scheduled for March 12 to 15 at the Karen Country Club, was put on hold over the fears of the deadly virus.
The pathogen’s effect has been felt across a range of sports – from athletics, rugby and golf to football, tennis and motorsports with dozens of international sport events cancelled or postponed.