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Foreign Marathon Legend Terms Arrest in Kenya Stupid
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|Foreign Marathon Legend Terms Arrest in Kenya Stupid by Kenyans247(1): Sun 05, April, 2020 09:07am|
Bahamas national marathon record holder O'Neil Williams has slammed the Kenyan government following his arrest while training in Iten.
Williams was part of the twelve athletes arrested while training on Monday, March 30 in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County after the government banned social gatherings and sports activities.
They were taken to Iten police station before local Athletics Kenya officials intervened on their behalf.
In an interview with Bahamas news outlet, the Nassau Guardian on Friday, April 3, Williams termed his arrest as stupid, "To be quite frank, it was stupid.
"We got up about nine on Monday to go running, and after about a mile of running, we saw some health officials on the road. They stopped us, saying that there is a rule in place stating that only one athlete could train at a time.
"We went to the police station, they took our names and put us in a holding cell for about seven hours. After a while of detainment, they brought in some high-ranking government officials.
"They explained why they don’t want us to be running in pairs or big groups because our droplets would be falling all over the place. They told us how they were giving us a second chance and then warned us against doing it again."
In March Athletics Kenya ordered all training camps in the country to be closed indefinitely and athletes instructed to maintain social distancing and train individually.
Williams, however, maintained his innocence, claiming not to be informed of the directive, "There was no official communication but here we are being detained.
An image of O'Neil Williams
O'Neil Williams (left) running at a past marathon.THE GUARDIAN
"They should be in a position to educate the people first and then enforce the rules, and that was not done."
The athlete who has been training in Kenya for the last nine years lamented about the poor conditions where they were held.
"Also, there were about 40-50 people walking through the police station in close proximity of each other with no masks and no gloves, and they’re telling us that we’re doing something wrong.
"They’re probably transferring the virus more than us. I was trying to figure out what’s the big deal with just two athletes running together when they have a bunch of people congregating every day.
"I just figured that they’re making a big fiasco out of nothing."
The 37-year-old holds a Bahamas national record in the men’s marathon – a time of 2:29.26 – set at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2019.
An image of O'Neil Williams
O'Neil Williams stretching his arms wide in training.THE GUARDIAN
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