I was not that sick, I just vom­ited – Mak­wala af­ter bar­ring

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: Botswana’s Isaac Mak­wala, a vic­tim of an out­break of sick­ness that has hit scores of com­peti­tors, was re­fused en­try to the Lon­don Sta­dium on Tues­day af­ter ear­lier be­ing with­drawn from the night’s 400m fi­nal at the World Cham­pi­onships.

The 30-year-old, con­sid­ered one of the main chal­lengers to gold medal­list Wayde van Niek­erk and is a na­tional icon in Botswana, had also been or­dered to with­draw from Mon­day’s open­ing round of the 200m.

Mak­wala said he felt well and wanted to race, but when he tried to go through the ath­letes’ en­trance, an of­fi­cial and se­cu­rity per­son­nel barred his way.

“I ar­rived at the sta­dium to­day ready to run, but I found a trap set there… and was de­nied en­trance (Gov­ern­ment or­der by the way not IAAF),” he said later in a mes­sage to his Face­book fans.

“We fought all day for the truth to come out… I still main­tain I am not sick and have never been tested by any doc­tor.”

The IAAF is­sued two state­ments on Tues­day, the first say­ing Mak­wala had been with­drawn due to a “med­i­cal con­di­tion” on the in­struc­tion of the “IAAF Med­i­cal Del­e­gate”.

The head of Botswana’s ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion, Fal­con Sed­imo, told the BBC that there had been no com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the IAAF, and that Mak­wala had not un­der­gone any med­i­cal tests.

“It’s just gen­er­alised as­sump­tions be­cause of the out­break of sick­ness and he has just one of those symp­toms,” he said.

“There has been… no for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the IAAF at all. We found out from the me­dia that he could not take part and he is heart­bro­ken.”

In the sec­ond state­ment, the IAAF said Mak­wala had been di­ag­nosed with an “in­fec­tious dis­ease” af­ter an ex­am­i­na­tion by a doc­tor in the warm-up med­i­cal cen­tre on Mon­day, and said the Botswana team had been in­formed.

“The team doc­tor, team leader and team physio had been in­formed fol­low­ing the med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion that the ath­lete should be quar­an­tined for 48 hours and would there­fore be miss­ing the 400m fi­nal on Tues­day,” it said.

“The IAAF is very sorry that the hard work and tal­ent of Isaac Mak­wala won’t be on dis­play tonight, but we have to think of the wel­fare of all ath­letes.”

South African Van Niek­erk re­tained his world ti­tle in dom­i­nant fash­ion, storm­ing to vic­tory in 43.98 sec­onds.

Mak­wala told the BBC on Tues­day that he had felt fit to race in the 200m heats on Mon­day and the 400m fi­nal. “I was not that sick. I just vom­ited.”

He added that he was “heart­bro­ken” when he was pulled from the 200m.

“I worked hard for this,” he added. “So I feel like sab­o­tag­ing or some­thing… I don’t know be­cause I don’t have the full in­for­ma­tion about this.”

He did not spec­ify in what way he felt he had been sab­o­taged.

The IAAF said it had been work­ing with Pub­lic Health Eng­land to con­tain the out­break of sick­ness and had is­sued guide­lines to teams and their doc­tors.

Sev­eral Botswana, Ger­man, Cana­dian, Ir­ish and Puerto Ri­can ath­letes have taken ill over the last few days, with some quar­an­tined and oth­ers forced to miss their events.

Com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­is­ers said on Mon­day that the ill­nesses were a re­sult of gas­troen­teri­tis, but pub­lic health of­fi­cials said on Tues­day that tests had con­firmed two cases of norovirus among ap­prox­i­mately 30 vic­tims. – Reuters

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