South Sudan Athletes To Keep Training In Japan Despite Tokyo 2020 Postponement

South Sudan Flag in Rio 2016 Olympics Game

The South Sudan Olympics committee has confirmed to KurraSports that South Sudanese athlete who were sent to Japan for the 2020 Olympics games will be kept to train in Japan until July 2020 despite postponement of the Games.

The nation that got its independence in 2011 from Sudan, first competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, with Kenyi Santino representing in the 800 meter while Margret Hassan in 200 meters.

The country was offered three universality placements in athletics, as no South Sudanese athletes met the Olympic qualifying standards prior to the Games. Three athletes, two men and one woman, competed in three track and field events, but did not win any medals. The sole woman, Margret Rumat Hassan, was given a spot eight days prior to the start of the Games that had been allotted previously to Mangar Makur Chuot.

Maebashi Mayor Ryū Yamamoto has announced that the Japanese city will continue to host athletes from South Sudan until July 2020 as scheduled, despite the COVID-19 crisis postponing Tokyo 2020.

Yamamoto spoke to the South Sudan National Olympic Committee about the decision and said assistance could be extended until the date of the rescheduled Games, according to NHK. It was agreed last week to postpone Tokyo 2020 until no later than the summer of 2021, because of the corona-virus pandemic.

The city, which lies around 130 kilometers to the north of Tokyo, has hosted four track and field athletes since November. One of which, 100 meters sprinter Michael Machiek, was set to compete in the Paralympic Games.
Track and field team of South Sudan which aims to participate in Tokyo 2020 already arrived in Japan. They will focus on their training in Maebashi City, Gunma, Japan with support from the city.

Abraham Majok, who runs the 1500m, 400m hurdler Akoon Akoon and the only woman in the team, 100m sprinter Lucia Morris, complete the South Sudan squad along with their coach Joseph Omirok. 

It should be noted that South Sudan did not have suitable training facilities for their athletes due to a civil war that only ended last month after more than six years of conflict.

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