Norovirus At World Champs Prompts No Hugging Rule

Photo: Courtesy of iaaf.org

A norovirus spreading at IAAF World Champs has prompted changes, both big and small, from meet officials and teams.

Several athletes were placed under quarantine for 48 hours. One of those affected was Botswana’s Isaac Makwala. He was barred from Monday’s 200-meter heats and Tuesday’s 400-meter final due to the virus. Makwala was seen as the main rival to world record holder Wayde van Niekerk in both events. After the decision was met with significant criticism, Makwala was allowed to run a solo 200 meters on Wednesday in an attempt to make the semi-finals. His time of 20.20 sent him to the semis, where he qualified for the finals two hours later.

Other teams affected included Germany, Canada, Ireland and Puerto Rico. Ireland’s Thomas Barr withdrew from the 400-meter hurdles, while Canada’s Eric Gillis dropped out of the marathon at mile 20. Blame has been placed on the Tower Hotel, where all the sickend athletes were staying.

Some changes have been small, but necessary. German athletes arriving later in the week were sent to a different hotel, and told not to come in contact with those affected. They even instilled a post-race no hugging rule.

“We are only allowed to high-fives with our elbows,” German 200-meter runner Rebekka Haase told dw.com.

RELATED: Weekend Highlights From IAAF World Championships

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