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Kenya imposes international travel ban for their athletes

Some of the world's best runners are unable to attend international competitions for the next month

Kenya’s Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage has placed a one-month international travel ban on their athletes. On March 9, a letter was sent informing presidents of all Kenyan sporting organizations that their athletes will not be permitted to travel to international competitions for the “safeguard of the public and the country at large.”

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In the next month, there are several road races that had Kenyan headliners, including Joyciline Jepkosgei (1:04:51) and Benard Ngeno (59:07) at this weekend’s United Airlines NYC Half.

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Joyciline Jepkosgei
Joyciline Jepkosgei sets the half-marathon world record in 2017. Photo: Run Czech.

If this ban is extended, it could have a major effect on the Boston and London marathons. London has been set up as the first showdown between Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in years. The two runners own personal bests of 2:01:39 (Kipchoge’s world record) and 2:01:41 (Bekele’s near miss from Berlin 2019).

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At Boston, there’s a strong contingent of Kenya elites set to toe the line. Edna Kiplagat, the 2017 women’s champion, is set to race along with Lawrence Cherono (the 2019 men’s champion) and Geoffery Kirui (the 2017 men’s champion).

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As of now, this ban is set to be lifted on April 9, 2020.