Nairobi, Aug 8 (IANS) One Kenyan and two Bahraini athletes heading for the world athletic championships in Moscow were caught in the fire disaster that left Kenya’s busiest airport Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shut down.
Valentine Kipketer Jepkorir, a marathon runner, now faces a race against time to be in Moscow Saturday for the marathon race final, reports Xinhua.
Kipketer, who is known for her behind the pack assassin running skills, had her Emirates flight postponed as she missed her flight with the rest Tuesday night.
She was due to fly out Wednesday night aboard Emirates flight through Dubai, but the fire at the airport made sure her nightmare continued.
“I had planned to travel with the rest of the team Tuesday, but I overslept. When I woke up there was nobody at the hotel,” she said.
“I had known that all athletes had left for training, but I was shocked to find out that they had left without me. I tried calling the coach (Sammy Rono) but it was no use. He was not within reach,” she added.
Kipketer will run alongside compatriots and defending champion Edna Kiplagat, former Dubai marathon silver medallist Lucy Kabuu and Margaret Agai.
At the same time, two Bahrain athletes, who were camping in Iten, were left with no choice but to postpone their trip due to the fire.
The duo was forced to look for alternative means of transport after flights from the Eldoret International Airport to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi were cancelled.
Tareq Mubarak, a 3000m Steeplechaser and Hassan Mahbub, a 10,000m runner, were expected to be in the Russian capital Thursday to join their camp in preparation for the world championships.
“My race was scheduled for August 12 and I feel I have been inconvenienced since I was required to be settled and get enough rest to participate well in the championships,” stated Tareq.
The athletes expressed their displeasure at the cancellation of services explaining that his colleague Mahbub was to have his race Saturday and the delay may affect his performance.
He, however, expressed optimism that normalcy would resume in major airports to ensure that air traffic does not inconvenience passengers and cargo.