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Athletics start off Team Kenya’s Olympics bubble camp in Kasarani

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – A contingent of 33 runners on Monday, March 1 started off Team Kenya’s bubble residential camp for Tokyo Olympics at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.

Athletics that sent runners competing 100m men, women 200m, men 400m, women 400m, men 20km, women 20km walk and Javelin throw, opened the camp that will last for two weeks.

Reporting next to camp will be the team sports of the national women’s volleyball team (Malkia Strikers) and both the national men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams (Kenya 7s and Kenya Lionesses) who are set to arrive in the country on Tuesday morning from Spain, where they took part in a two-week invitational Madrid 7s tournament.

The bubble camp was necessitated due to the strict conditions that have been set by the Tokyo Operations Team of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) with the aim achieving the COVID-19 guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Sports.

Athletes will check in as a team, and stay only within their team throughout the camp with each athlete undergoing a mandatory COVID-19 test on arrival at Kasarani and will be allocated single room accommodation at the Stadion Hotel, as they await the test results.

Once the test results are out, the athletes will now be paired into a double room, to make space for another team to check in.

Athletes and officials will need to sign an agreement that they understand the COVID-19 protocols and rules and will abide by them and non-compliance of the laid down protocols may force an athlete to be taken out of camp.

“Our first priority is to protect the health and safety of our athletes, as much as we need them to start training, it will be of no use to spend so much time and resources to train and then jeopardize an individual’s or team’s chances of participating at the Olympics in Japan,” Team Kenya General Team Manager for Tokyo Olympics, Barnaba Korir asserted.

For athletics who are due to conduct Olympics Trials in June, the athletes in camp who will be accompanied by their coaches, team manager and technical team are the prospects to make into the Tokyo team.

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Currently, only the marathon team has been named by Athletics Kenya, comprising of four men; Eliud Kipchoge -defending champion, Lawrence Cherono, Vincent Kipchumba and Amos Kipruto) while the star-studded women’s team will be led by world record holder and two-time London Marathon champion, Brigid Kosgei, world champion Ruth Chepng’etich, world half marathon record holder Peres Jepchirchir and Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot.

Most of the marathon team is training in the north rift at their usual training grounds.

The team managers of the Olympic teams were trained on the Tokyo Playbook two weeks ago.

The Playbooks describe the COVID-19 countermeasures expected to be adhered to during the Games and the role of stakeholders in ensuring safe and successful games with a list of guidelines and stakeholder journey before they travel to Japan, entering Japan, during the Games and on departure from Japan.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee published Playbooks for various groups participating in the Games.

One for Athletes and Officials another for International Federations and technical officials, and others for Press and Broadcasters.

NOC-K with the support of the National Federations and the team managers, are putting the COVID19 standards similar to the playbook, so that athletes and officials start getting used to the same standards that will be required in Tokyo.

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