The so called “new normal” is pushing events to the realm of what was once considered as unimaginable and impossible. Event managers are coming up with ingenious ways in an effort to avoid cancellation of scheduled sports activities due to the Corona virus pandemic. Organizers of the annual Bislett games in Oslo, Norway, have completely outdone themselves this time.
Having witnessed the cancellation or postponement of other Diamond league meetings, one would be forgiven to think that would be the case for the athletics meeting scheduled to take place in Oslo. The organizers thought otherwise. In spite of the restrictions put in place due to the global pandemic, the traditional athletics event will proceed, though nothing about it will be traditional. In fact, the event has opened up discussions about futuristic concepts of some competitions.
Dubbed “The Impossible Games”, for the first time in history, athletes will compete in the same competition but in different cities. On the 11th of June 2020, Team Cheruiyot, representing Kenya and running in Nairobi, will face off with Team Ingebrigtsen representing Norway and running in Oslo. The two set of athletes will compete in a virtual 2000m race named “The Maurie Plant Memorial” in honor of Maurie Plant, a BBC broadcaster and former agent who died in January.
Each of the teams will start the race with five team members but only three will be allowed to finish and be considered in the final points tally. Jakob, Henrik and Philip Ingebrigtsen will form part of the Norwegian contingent while Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi will lead the charge for team Kenya. Plans are underway to ensure that the race will be broadcasted globally in a split screen.
Apart from the 2000m race, 400m hurdles Norwegian sensation, Karsten Warholm, is eyeing a world record attempt in the 300m hurdles in Bislett behind closed doors.
The action does not end there. A pole vaulting duel is also set to take place in the same arena as Mondo Duplantis, the world record from Sweden takes on Sondre Guttormsen who will be seeking to capitalize on home advantage despite the absence of fans. However, an additional spice will be added to the pole vault competition as the former world record holder, Renaud Lavillenie, will be competing from his garden in France.
How far can one push their imagination? June 11th 2020 will be “implanted” in history as the athletics world honors Maurie Plant.
Author: Jectan Oitang’or
Head of Sports & Fitness, Fursa Africa
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