New Zealand has pulled out of the forthcoming 2021 World Athletics U20 Championships that is set to be staged in Kenya in July.
Athletics Zealand communicated their decision to their Kenyan counterpart, saying they will not be sending athletes to East Africa.
The decision was reached due to the fear of Covid-19 in Kenya, especially in the capital city that was hit by a third wave of the virus early in the year, and a possible terror attack.
“There is a heightened risk of terrorism throughout Kenya at present, including an ongoing threat based on credible information indicating that Westerners may be targeted by extremists in the Nairobi area. The NZ Consulate in Kenya has advised Athletics NZ against hiring a security escort for our team as, according to their expertise, the presence of security details can make a group stand out and therefore become a potential target.”
Athletics New Zealand added that it will directly contact athletes who had previously submitted their application for the competition.
“When taking into consideration the current situation in Nairobi, including security risks, the open ended current Covid-19 lockdown and high and increasing case numbers, as well as NZ Government advice not to travel to Kenya, Athletics NZ has been advised by its insurance brokers that we cannot be guaranteed insurance cover for the team, management or coaches travelling to this event.”
While there have been incidents of terror attacks in Kenya, the last reported case was in January 2019 at the Dusit Hotel in Nairobi.
But New Zealand is not spared form acts of terrorism either. Two months after the Dusit attack, a lone gunman shot and killed 51 in a mosque in Christchurch.
The attack that also left 48 others with bullet wound, took place in two mosques, Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, and was livestreamed on Facebook