Indian runner Murali Gavit stuck in Kenya due to travel restrictions

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Indian track-and-field talent Murali Gavit entered Kenyan territiory on April 10, and set his foot on the hills of Iten, about 300 Kilometres away from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Three months later, with the Olympic dream no longer having any semblance to reality, Gavit finds himself stuck in the African nation.

The International Olympic Committee and The Japanese Government has decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021. Gavit, who primarily runs in the 5000 and 10000 metre categories, wishes to return to India as soon as possible, but finds himself stuck in Kenya, as India has suspended International flight facilities from or into its territory. In the foreign nation, he is leading a hard life in the strict lockdown. Kenya currently has a partial lockdown going on to curb the spread of Covid-19. Educational institutions are closed, and huge travel restrictions have been placed on citizens.

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“I had reached here on January 10 to train for the qualifying meets in Europe and the Olympics. I am now stuck in Iten. I step out to purchase necessary items but restrictions over here are strict. I want to come back to India and be with my family,” said Gavit.

Gavit trains under the keen eye of Hugo van den Broek of The Netherlands at Iten’s High Altitude Training Centre, a facility founded by multiple world champion Lornah Kiplagat. Located in the hills of Iten, it is surrounded by miles of dirt track.

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In such conditions, very little training is taking place, and Gavit’s family in the Gujarat village of Kamarbandh are getting worried.

“Group training has been discontinued. I manage to do very little training. I was training on my own. But, back home my parents are concerned about me,” Gavit said.

About the condition of Covid-19 cases in Kenya, Gavit looks very concerned. “The country is testing but only those who have foreign travel history. Cases are rising with each passing day,” he said.

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