The Weightlifting Federation of Africa (WFA) has been accused of ignoring the safety of athletes after relocating the African Championships to a COVID-infested area in Kenya with two weeks notice.
“Why does the WFA endanger the health of athletes?” said Mona De Lacey, the African representative on the Athletes Committee of the International Weightlifting Federation (IMF).
“Has the WFA board given any thought to the health and safety of the athletes?
“That should be the biggest problem right now, and the presence of the Indian variant of COVID-19 in Kenya is a big problem.”
Several cases of the new, deadly variant have been discovered in Kenya, where the death rate from the virus is believed to be well above the official figure of just under 3,000.
Kenya is on the ‘red list’ of countries in the UK – only citizens or resident residents can enter from there – and the US Embassy is warning its citizens, “If you need to travel to Kenya at this time, do so . ” Travel insurance that includes the protection of an ambulance evacuation in the event you suffer from symptomatic COVID-19. “
The African Championships were originally supposed to be hosted by Mauritius, but have been moved to Madagascar due to COVID-19.
The competition was postponed from the first week of April to mid-May and has now been postponed to another date and country at short notice.
The African Championships and the Election Congress are listed for the capital Nairobi from May 24th to 31st.
Although the WFA Board voted on the move on May 5th, a letter to member associations was dated May 9th and no public announcement was made, merely a change in the competition calendar on the IMF website.
Kenya has had fewer than 3,000 coronavirus deaths, but many deny official figures © Getty Images
“They changed the dates three times and left everyone very little time to arrange flights, especially because it is not always possible to fly direct from Africa to Nairobi,” said South African De Lacey.
“I’ve been contacted by other athletes from all over Africa and we think the African Federation should follow the example of Oceania and postpone the championships until after the Olympics.”
The European Championships, the Pan American Championships and the Asian Championships all took place in April. However, due to travel restrictions related to Coronavrius, the Oceania Championships will not take place in Nauru until August – two and a half weeks after the Olympics have ended.
The amended qualifying rules for the late 2020 Tokyo Games allow athletes to “skip” the third qualifying phase – although some may want to compete regardless of risk, as the continental championships offer one last chance to improve the rankings.
For details to be sent to member associations, final entries for Nairobi must be submitted by Friday this week. Until then, all athletes must provide flight details.
You will also need a yellow fever certificate and proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving in Nairobi.
The associations must provide adequate insurance for their delegation.
Forrester Osei, vice chairman of the IMF Athletes Commission, would qualify for Tokyo 2020 ahead of fellow Ghanaian Christian Amoah if the event were canceled.
Due to his personal commitment, he declined to comment.
The WFA was asked to comment.