Kenya says Japan’s Kurume City pulls out of hosting training camp

FILE PHOTO- A passerby wearing a protective face mask walks past a screen showing the logo of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, April 14, 2021. REUTERS-Issei Kato

Japan’s Kurume City has pulled out of hosting Kenya’s pre-Olympics training camp over COVID-19 concerns, Kenya’s Olympics committee said on Wednesday, becoming the latest location to cancel plans to host overseas squads.

The tournament is due to start in less than eight weeks but the pandemic has disrupted preparations, with more than 100 municipalities scrapping plans to host teams from abroad.

Olympics Kenya said that Kurume City officials communicated the cancellation on Tuesday, saying infections had spread rapidly there since mid-April creating a critical situation.

Facilities for training camps were now vaccination venues, the Kenyan statement quoted Kurume authorities as saying.

There was no immediate confirmation from Japan.

Kenya had signed an agreement for a 12-day stay. Its qualified athletes – with the exception of middle and long distance athletes and those from the swimming team – were scheduled to travel to Kurume on July 7.

“Kenya is therefore making alternative arrangements for the team to prepare adequately, and in consideration of the period of stay guidelines from the organisers,” said Francis Mutuku, secretary general of National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

Tournament organisers have insisted the Games will be held safely though most Japanese want the event cancelled or postponed again.

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