NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has insisted that the seventh round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Kenya’s Safari Rally will go on as scheduled from July 16-19.
There was uncertainty on whether the prestigious event returning to Kenya for the first time in 18 years will be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected sports globally, but speaking to Capital Sport, Amina confirmed that the Rally has not been postponed.
“The WRC Kenya Safari Rally round remains a scheduled event in the seventh round of the FIA and World Rally Championship calendar which was slated and continues to be slated for the 16th to 19th of July 2020,” CS Amina disclosed.
She added; “of cause there are challenges experienced by all international and local sporting events in the world due to COVID-19 global pandemic with the major casualty being the Olympics which has been postponed to next year.”
“It’s worth noting that the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, is partnering with the Kenya Motor Sports Federation, FIA and WRC promoter to deliver the WRC back in Kenya and Africa after 18 years. This being the case, all stake holders continue monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and will issue a joint statement in the next few days on the way forward for WRC Safari Rally Kenya,” she stated.
Amina confirmed that the secretariat set up by the government is working around the clock to ensure they meet the deadline set up by the Motor Sports governing body FIA and WRC promoter.
Already, the COVID-19 pandemic has mutilated the 2020 WRC calendar with so far only three rallies in the 14-round championship having been run, in Monte Carlo , Sweden and Mexico.
The rallies of Argentina, Portugal and Italy have already been rescheduled indefinitely because of the virus.
-Lending hand to sports persons-
With the government having allocated Sh100mn from the Sports Fund kitty to support artists in Kenya during this COVID-19 pandemic, sports personalities cried foul, outlining that they too need to be supported financially since the virus has curtailed their activeness in sports.
However, CS Amina clarified that the athletes have not been forgotten and that the Ministry of Sports has plans to ensure that the vulnerable sportspersons are supported financially.
“We are discussing with all active sports federations to explore how best to cushion the most vulnerable athletes and players particularly those in the national teams during this very difficult period. We are conscious of the fact that there are many sportsmen and women who rely on sports as a livelihood, therefore, I call for collaborate effort from corporate sponsors, sports organisation and people of good will to support them in every possible way in this difficult time,” Amina told Capital Sports.
The CS encouraged sports personalities to continue supporting the government directives on fighting the coronavirus by using their massive influence to educate their supporters.
Marathon expert Eliud Kipchoge, Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama, professional striker Michael Olunga, Kenya Sevens star Collins Injera and volleyball ace Jane Wacu are among sports persons who have joined a campaign to fight the pandemic.
“It is encouraging to see our sports personalities joining the fight against COVID-19 by educating the public, we are extremely proud of them. We intend to use this time to critically look at our sports policy, areas that need concentration or reviewing and getting that done within the time we have,” said Amina.