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Uproar as Kenyan Athletes Are Locked Out of Canadian Marathon



23 athletes from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda will miss out on the 2022 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon slated for Sunday, May 29, in Canada as their running visas were not approved in time.

Media reports indicated that 14 women including Ethiopia’s record holder Gelete Burka will miss out on the acclaimed event. Only the names of Juliet Chekwel of Uganda and Rebeca Chesire of Kenya remained on the starting list. 

The disgruntled athletes expressed their dismay with the situation noting that they had applied for the visa in advance. 

File photo of Kenyan long-distance runners during a training session


“I don’t know what happened. I applied for a visa. I have been training for this for eight months. I am very disappointed as everyone has been helping me prepare for this race,” Burka stated.

On the other hand, nine men from Ethiopia and Kenya will not participate in the race due to visa restrictions.

This means that Ethiopia’s Andualem Belay Shiferaw and Teshome Mekonen and Kenya’s Alex Kibet, Albert Kangogo, and Leonard Langat will be left to fly the flags of their respective countries in the event. 

The organisers of the prestigious annual event have received backlash from international media outlets who have highlighted the situation and urged the Canadian government to correct the mishap. 

“What agent is going to want to commit to a Canadian event when this is going on? Canada has to correct this very quickly,” international sports journalist, Paul Gains stated. 

The top male and female of the event are slated to win Ksh2.8 million ($24,000) in prize money excluding appearance fees and sponsorships. 

The prize money has decreased over time due to the pandemic period that saw the award reduced from the Ksh4.6 million ($40,000) tag. 

Kenyan Athletes Pose For A Photo With President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House on August 16, 2021.

Kenyan Athletes Pose For a Photo With President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House on August 16, 2021.


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