African athletes dealing with pandemic by keeping fitness levels up and sharing a helping hand
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mso-ansi-language:EN-ZA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">– African athletes have been forced to keep fit despite harsh government restrictions during the the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Kenyan middle-distance runner Timothy Cheruiyot is one of the few African athletes to have competed while in government lockdown. Along with his training partners at the Rongai Athletics Club, including 2017 world 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi, Cheruiyot competed over 2000m in Nairobi as part of Oslo's Impossible Games in June.
Meanwhile, South African distance runner Nolene Conrad reached out to Cape Town area runners via Facebook and Twitter, offering a helping hand to those in need.
"Now is the time for us to stand together as a running community and look after each other," she said.
Botswana’s 400m sprinter Isaac Makwala believes African athletes were worst effected by the pandemic.
“In terms of competitions, Africa is going to be hardest hit when you consider that other parts of the world are now resorting to technology races,” said Makwala.
“Competitions have commenced in the US and Europe and African athletes are going to be affected the most because the Diamond League is set to commence in August and the borders in Africa may likely remain closed by then.”
Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot. Photo: twitter.com/citizentvkenya
In any other year, national record-holder Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia would have been travelling around the Diamond League circuit. The African bronze medallist is training hard at home with one eye on competing at the Olympics next year.
Ivorian sprinter Murielle Ahoure spends most of her time in the States, but has fortunately been able to gain access to training facilities at Miami Beach, Florida.
The two-time world half marathon medallist had been training in the UK when lockdown restrictions were imposed in both Europe and Africa. She is still in the UK but hopes to return to Kenya soon.