Kenya to spend more to prepare for 2021 Tokyo Games due to COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-09 09:49:43|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will need to spend more to prepare the team for the Tokyo Olympic Games after it was pushed back to 2021.

Kenya had set aside a budget of 600 million shillings (about 6 million U.S. dollars) for the games up from the 5.4 million dollars spent on Rio 2016.

Amina Mohamed, Kenya's Sports Cabinet Secretary said all athletes must stay safe and practice social distancing in individual training as the country fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya has reported 179 positive cases with six deaths and nine recoveries so far.

"The sports calendar has been affected in the entire world. It is a big loss and we all agree to postpone sports. The Olympics have been postponed and this means the preparations by our teams will be pushed back and it will be costly to us. This will lead to more money being spent on qualification and training," Mohamed told reporters in Nairobi.

Mohamed also directed all committees in the country, which work on the hosting of international competitions, to continue working at home or through virtual means.

"I foresee the Olympics preparations, World Athletics Continental Tour Challenge and World Athletics Under-20 Championships will continue with their work but will only be meeting once a month. But when necessary they can meet through virtual means until new dates for the events are announced," Mohamed said.

In Rio, Kenya had a team of 89 athletes, but Chief de Mission for 2020 Tokyo Games Waithaka Kioni said they intend to enter more than 100 athletes with 87 already qualified from boxing, volleyball, rugby and athletics.