African athletes hit hard in the pocket during sporting postponements
JOHANNESBURG - The impact of the suspension and cancellation of sporting events due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching effects, but none more so than that on African athletes.
July was set to be the centre of the athletics event calendar, with the Tokyo Olympics scheduled but was added to the long list of events that had to be postponed. There were also a number of Diamond League athletics events that were cancelled, as well as the African Athletics Championships this year which have been pushed to 2021.
“Every athlete is feeling the consequences,” Burkina Faso’s triple jump World Championship bronze medallist Hugues Fabrice Zango was quoted as saying by myjoyonline.com.
“I know of some African athletes who don’t have sponsors and who usually travel to Europe to compete and get some money. With competitions cancelled, this is going to harm them because they won’t have this income to help them prepare for next year.
“So some athletes will be in a very difficult position.”
Kenyan men’s marathoner Dennis Kipngeno said: “Iten is now weird and boring. Motivation is low to leave the house and run alone. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work.”
Nigeria’s 2008 women’s long jump Olympic silver medallist Blessing Okagbare said: “Being an athlete is all we know, all we do – it is our life. So when things like this happen, it is like a shock. Not knowing what is going to happen is the hardest part in this whole situation for me.”