Kenyan athletes cleared to travel to France for Monaco Diamond League
Gilbert Kiprpotich Chief writer, athletics
Kenyan athletes have been given the green light to travel to Monaco, France for the opening leg of the rescheduled Diamond League series slated for August 14.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, there were fears that Kenyan athletes could be locked out of the meet due to travel restrictions to Schengen countries.
Kenya was omitted from the list of countries whose citizens were allowed to enter the Schengen states when the European Union opened its borders last month.
Consequently, the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya (AK) had opted for diplomacy in a bid to resolve the situation.
With barely a week to the event, some 11 athletes have already been cleared to travel for the race amid strict protocols in adherence to the containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
According to Athletics Kenya (AK) executive committee member Barnaba Korir, the athletes have already been issued with visas but will have to be tested for the virus 72 hours before their departure.
“As you know we will be having the Monaco Diamond League next weekend and some of our athletes are set to compete there. We have finalized the procedures where the athletes have gone to the (French) embassy and have already been given their visas. They will however have to be tested for Covid-19 and stay in Kenya for 72 hours before leaving and when they arrive in Monaco they will be tested again 24 or 48 hours before they compete,” said Korir.
Korir said the athletes were cleared after AK and the Sports Ministry lobbied the French embassy to allow them to travel.
“This was made possible because the (AK) president wrote to the ministry which in turn contacted the French embassy,” said Korir.
Among the athletes invited for the Monaco leg are world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, Olympics 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon as well as the world 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech.
Others are world 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot and world 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto.