In March, 2020, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage called for cessation of sports competitions and group sports activities in the country following the reporting of the first positive cases of Covid-19 in Kenya.
Indeed, the sporting world came to a standstill with various major international competitions either put on hold, suspended, or cancelled altogether as the coronavirus continued to spread.
Principally, the world’s greatest sporting showcase – the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – initially scheduled for July 24 to August 9, 2020 were postponed to July 2021.
In Kenya, three major global sports events were postponed:
WRC Safari Rally, the World Athletics Under-20 Championship, and the Magical Kenya Open Golf Championships.
On June 30 2020, I appointed the Resumption of Sports Advisory Committee to draw up protocols for the resumption of sporting activities in Kenya following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The development of the Guidelines is a culmination of active engagement with relevant stakeholders and experts drawn from various sporting fields and the health sector.
In close consultation with my colleague Cabinet Secretary for Health Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, I launched the guidelines in September 2020. These Guidelines were updated in November and December 2020.
The protocols guided the gradual resumption of sports with safety restrictions.
Since then, we have held various sporting events, vaccinated over 5,000 athletes, athlete handlers and officials and effectively implemented these guidelines.
We have also engaged medical personnel and exposed our doctors to international events to learn from the new way of delivering sports globally.
It is these lessons and insights that enriched this revision in tandem with the directions of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The revised guidelines place more emphasis on athlete safety, containment measures, vaccination and travel guidelines.
We commit to ensure that our athletes’ health is prioritized and that every effort is made to ensure that our athletes have a chance to participate in sporting activities by minimizing chances of infection. Our mantra is to have zero Covid-19 affected athletes.
I thank my colleague in the Ministry of Health, Hon. Mutahi Kagwe for the support in revising and approving these guidelines and call upon all stakeholders to comply with them.
Together, we can fight the pandemic and maintain a low case load to ensuring we continue playing.
Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed,
EGH, CAV Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage