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Kenya Open called off due to coronavirus

Spain’s Adri Arnaus celebrates after holing a birdie during third round action at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – The Magical Kenya Open Golf Tournament which had been scheduled for next week at the Karen Country Club has been postponed after a government directive due to fears of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in a press briefing on Friday stated that the government was stepping in to halt events that involved more than 15 nationalities outside the country.

“The Kenya Open Golf Limited has received the Government of Kenya’s decision to postpone all conferences and meetings of an international nature in Kenya for the next 30 days, including the 2020 Magical Kenya Open, due to the ongoing global threat from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” Kenya Open said in a statement on Thursday, signed by chairman Peter Kanyago.

“The Kenya Open Golf Limited respects the decision of the Government of Kenya and supports all efforts that safeguard our country against the possible entry of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). I have conveyed the Government of Kenya decision to the European Tour and they have assured us of their full support and we will be announcing new dates for the championship in due course,” he added.

The European Tour also released a statement confirming the calling off of the Championship.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour said: “We understand and totally respect the decision made by the Government of Kenya in these difficult times.

“We are looking into the possibility of rescheduling the tournament at some point later in the season, but that remains simply a possibility right now – we have no definitive plans at this stage.”

This comes just a day after the Ministry of Sports declined to give tickets to the women’s Beach Volleyball team that was scheduled to take place in Nigeria as from yesterday.

The Coronavirus spread has caused shockwaves across the sporting divide and on Thursday, Sports CS Amina Mohammed said she hoped it would be handled in time to ensure Kenya hosts the Continental Tour and the World Athletics Under 20 Championships set for May and July.

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