The Africa Senior Muaythai Championship earlier scheduled to hold in Tunis, Tunisia from April 5 to 10, has been postponed due to coronavirus (Covid-19) scare, the Nigeria Muaythai Federation disclosed yesterday.
The President of the federation, Comrade Paul Egonu said the decision was taken by the world body in line with the global decision to cancel all sporting activities as a measure to curb the spread of the dreaded Covid-19.
Egonu, who also applauded the Federal Government for postponing the 20th National Sports Festival earlier billed to start in Benin, Edo State at the weekend, said the decision was in the interest of the athletes and their officials.
He noted that the cancellation of the sports festival by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development conformed to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, who said it was a precautionary move against COVID-19.
According to him, “The coronavirus pandemic, better known as Covid-19, has affected all sporting activities across the globe.
“The Muaythai Federation of Nigeria has keyed into the global acceptance of postponing events that bring people together, hence the postponement of the African Muaythai Senior Championship billed for Tunisia.
“The International Federation of Muaythai Associations in a release sent to all its affiliate bodies, including Nigeria, said: “We are all facing a period of unprecedented difficulty in this world due to the current global Covid-19 situation, which is adversely affecting the world of sport.
“IFMA has in the past and always will put the health and safety of all family members comprising of our athletes, coaches, staff, officials, volunteers and the general public at the focus of our concerns.
“IFMA shall continue to heed the advice of the WHO, as the leading United Nations organization dealing with this situation.
“Currently, we are all aware that the WHO has now declared Covid-19 as a “Pandemic” primarily due to the speed and scope of transmission of the virus as opposed to the severity of the disease.
“After much consultation and discussions with all relevant stakeholders of IFMA, all international events until further notice are postponed. It is felt that this is the correct course of action in keeping everyone safe.
“With regards to the Senior World Championships, we are following the directives of the host government to delay major events. At this moment, we are considering the options of delaying the event to either last week of October or second week of November.”
Comrade Egonu appealed to the athletes to remain calm as the postponement was for safety reasons, adding that he understood the right of the athletes to complain having trained so hard in closed camp ahead of the tournament.