Kenenisa Bekele was more than ready to line up this Sunday for the 40th edition of the London Marathon.
“I was in a very good position and I felt comfortable,” Ethiopian Bekele, the world’s second-fastest marathon runner, says.
As part of his build up to London, the Ethiopian had won the London Big Half on 1 March, posting a new course record of one hour and 22 seconds.
But the London Marathon is not going to happen, at least, not this April. Coronavirus has taken over.
Nevertheless, Bekele is not so much affected by the postponement of the race, as by the worldwide coronavirus crisis, and the feeling of how vulnerable human beings are.
“I worry about the future. I worry about the famine that follows. We are in a lockdown in Ethiopia, but staying inside is a luxury that many cannot afford,” Bekele says.
“But I believe we will survive this storm. Humanity has done it before and overcome many great disasters before. But it will not be easy.”
Ethiopia is one of the countries in Africa affected by the virus. As at press time, the East African country has recorded 116 positive cases.
It is something that has made Bekele not only speak out, but act. One of Ethiopia’s most decorated athletes – he has three Olympic gold medals, two in 10,000m and one in 5000m, and holds the world records in both events – has given out his hotel in Sululta, 25 minutes outside Addis Ababa, to be used for coronavirus patients.
“I hope people can use the rooms that I have in my hotel in Sululta; I have space there,” he explains.
“I want to offer them on my costs to help out in this highly contagious and still mysterious virus that is harming the health and lives of people greatly.”
Bekele says with the global crisis growing rapidly and pressure piling up everywhere, everyone needs to stand for each other.
SWAN Lauds NFF On COVID-19 Palliatives
The President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Honour Sirawoo, has applauded the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on the transparent manner it disbursed the COVID-19 palliative package from FIFA, CAF and other sponsors.
Sirawoo, who expressed delight in the N 11,580,000 (eleven million, five hundred and eighty thousand) Naira that was earmarked for SWAN said the NFF was meticulous in ensuring that all the stakeholders in Nigerian football were duly captured.
He further noted that the gesture will in no small way enhance the cordial working relationship between the NFF and other stakeholders especially SWAN, even as he urged all the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the grant.
“The leadership of the NFF has displayed a very high degree of transparency in the manner it handled the COVID-19 palliatives from its various sponsors by ensuring that all the stakeholders in the football development chain were captured.
“We in SWAN are particularly happy because this recognition will go a long way in alleviating the impact of the pandemic which has slowed down the economic activities of the country.”
“We thank the President of the NFF, AmajuPinnick and members of his Board for this well-thought and timely gesture; our members have gone through various degrees of pains following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, we say thank you NFF,” he declared.
The SWAN President also assured that he will ensure that all the members of the association in its 37 state chapters were given their due from the amount.
Opara Dumps Enyimba
Defender, Austin Opara has parted ways with Enyimba International of Aba, despite joining the club twelve months ago.
Opara reached an agreement to terminate his contract despite having two more years on his contract he signed last year.
Opara joined the 2019 Nigeria professional football league Champions after ending his successful spell with the MFM Football Club of Lagos, where he captained the team for several seasons.
Opara arrived Aba giants with much promise but he found first-team opportunities difficult to come by, no thanks to the solid partnership of Anaemena and Adebayo at the back.
The hard-tackling defender is also behind Nelson Ogbonnaya down the pecking order, which only makes him Fatai Osho’s fourth choice.
Opara is however free to join any team of his choice ahead of 2020-2021 campaign.
COVID-19, Setback To League Players – Mbaoma
Enyimba player, Victor Mbaoma, has stated that league players at this rate have been put at a disadvantaged position with the current COVID-19 situation and the level of things with regard to when football will return.
Mbaoma, speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, said the current situation with regard to waiting for government approval, whereas their counterparts abroad are able to play behind closed doors, means league players are worst affected and may not be ready to be in the scheme of things until next year, career-wise and even with regard to movement abroad.
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