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Athletics chief Coe says Tokyo Games can be ‘beacon of hope’

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TOKYO, Japan, May 09 – World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe said Sunday he believes the coronavirus-postponed Tokyo Olympics can be “a beacon of hope and optimism”, despite infections surging in Japan and other countries.

A virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of Japan was extended on Friday, less than three months before the Games are due to begin.

The emergency measures come as Olympic organisers struggle to win over a sceptical Japanese public, who fear the Games could spread infections despite a ban on overseas fans and possibly domestic spectators too.

But Coe, speaking at an athletics test event held behind closed doors at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, said he believes the Games can “have a profound impact” on the world and moved to reassure the Japanese public that “we take those concerns very, very seriously”.

“I think that it will also act as a beacon of hope and optimism in a world that I hope is soon moving back to some type of normalcy,” he told reporters.

“I think that these Games will leave a strong lasting legacy, not just for Japan but at a time when the world is coming to terms with some pretty difficult and harrowing months.”

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Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak remains much smaller than in many countries, with just over 10,500 deaths.

But its vaccine rollout is moving slowly and some areas have seen record cases as more infectious variants drive fresh waves of contagion.

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More than 10,000 athletes from 200 countries and regions are set to travel to Tokyo for the Games, with a decision on how many domestic fans — if any — can attend to be taken in June.

More than 300,000 people have signed an online petition titled “Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives”, launched Wednesday by a lawyer and former Tokyo gubernatorial candidate.

A group of around 100 people staged a protest outside Sunday’s athletics test event, which featured 420 athletes, including nine from overseas.

Olympic organisers insist the Games can be held safely and have laid down strict guidelines for athletes, warning they could be kicked out if they break the rules.

“There’s not an athletics federation that will be coming here that doesn’t understand the importance of following the rules and the regulations,” Coe said.

“The athletes are very keen to be here but they also know that they have a responsibility to do everything they possibly can for the infection not to spread.”

Coe admitted that the virus restrictions mean “this is not, under any circumstances, business as usual” and that there are “no perfect solutions” to determine which athletes qualify for the Games.

But he insisted that the competition will be “fair”, and that he has been “consistently bowled over” by the athletes’ ability to deal with the restrictions.

“I think everybody is in the same boat here.”

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Sewage Menace in Pipeline, Residents Cry For Help

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By Milo George

Residents of Pipeline Transami area are decrying poor drainage system that has caused sewage water to overflow in their area of residence.

The residents claim that the overflowing sewage is not only putting their lives at risk but also causing air pollution.

They have called on Nairobi Metropolitan Services and Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company to come on board and expand the sewer lines before more areas are flooded with raw human wastes coming from the blocked pipes.
“We want Major Badi and our leaders to resolve this menace immediately. It’s terrible many have been forced to shift their businesses because of the foul smell,” they said.
Pastor Joe Ndivoh of Word Evangelistic Explosion Ministries says that they have been forced to call off the Sunday School Service to protect the children from the smelly sewage.
‘‘We now fear that if prompt action is not taken then we will have a bigger health problem than this because we fear there could be an outbreak of water-borne disease anytime,’’ Pastor Ndivoh added.


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Solberg Jnr replaces Pierre-Louis for WRC Safari – KBC

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Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team has made a change to it’s WRC2 team for Safari replacing Pierre-Louis Loubet with 19 year old Oliver Solberg.

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The change of crew hands young Solberg an opportunity to resume his family dream on the fabled Safari which was first held from 27 May to 1 June 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Solberg Senior finished the WRC Safari 5th on the 1999 and 2000 editions driving a Ford Focus and navigated by his eventual Championship- winning navigator Phil Mills. In 200 and 2002, Petter retired on Safari after he lost a wheel and suffering engine gremlins on both occasions.

Oliver was forced to withdraw from last week’s Rally Italia Sardegna after his father, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Oliver was gearing up for his second top flight World Rally Championship outing with Hyundai at last weekend’s s Italian event.

However having been in contact with his father, Oliver was compelled to remain in quarantine in a hotel in Porto for 14 days as per the FIA Appendix S regulations.

The FIA’s Appendix S COVID-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.

“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” The 19-year-old Solberg told www.motorsport.com last week.

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WRC Safari Rally Event Secretary Helen Shiri confirmed Oliver’s Safari participation saying: “Hyundai WRC 2 team car number 7 has changed the crew from Driver Pierre-Lous and co-driver Florian Haut-labourdette both from France to Oliver Solberg (Swedish) and  Co-driver Aaron Johnston (Ireland). The car, a Hyundai i20 Coupé, remains intact.”

Meanwhile, it’s been a meteoric rise for the son of world champion Petter.

Less than two years after his maiden rally in a four-wheel drive car, the teenage sensation was competing at the WRC’s top level.

Aged just 17, Oliver became the youngest winner of a European Championship rally in 2019.

With a father and a mother from a well-known Swedish motorsport family and a former Production WRC competitor in her own right, there was a sense of inevitability that a career at the wheel was inevitable for Oliver Solberg. 

Solberg’s early years were spent racing in crosskarts.

In 2012 he won the Norwegian Championship before a step up to a higher class brought consecutive title wins in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In 2019 Solberg stepped into R5 machinery, driving a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in the Latvian/Estonian/Baltic Rally Championship. He took to the increased power immediately and racked up five class wins on his way to the championship title.

He also followed in his father’s footsteps to join Subaru Motorsports USA. He drove a latest-spec Impreza STI, winning three of the six rounds

After making his WRC debut at the 2019 Rally GB, Solberg stepped into a full WRC campaign in 2020, driving his own Polo R5 alongside a partial campaign with Skoda Motorsport.

The WRC returns to Africa for the first time since 2002. The Safari of old has evolved to fit the modern-day WRC, but its character remains with challenging closed dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic wildlife.

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Three more suspected robbers arrested along Southern by-pass – KBC

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Three more suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent spate of robberies targeting motorists along the Southern by-pass.

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The three were arrested in Kibra by detectives based in Langata.

Their arrest follows a detailed analysis and investigations of the robberies, with detectives employing cyber and forensic analysis techniques to identify the beneficiaries of the crimes.

Boniface Winjira Unganyi, the proprietor of Basement Crew mobile shop within Lindi in Kibra, was arrested as the key suspect after a total of 102 mobile phones suspected to have been stolen from victims were recovered from his shop.

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Also arrested were 35-year-old Alex Mboya, who was found in possession of a victim’s phone, and a 16-year-old minor, studying at a secondary school in Langata.

Five other suspects have been arraigned in recent weeks in connection with the violent robberies.

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