Botswana’s 30-year-old Isaac Makwala was withdrawn from the 400m final at the World Championship by IAAF organizers after an outbreak of the norovirus caused vomiting during the 200m heats on Monday.
He was devastated saying,
“I could have run. I did my warm up well and I was ready to run. I feel ready to run today, tonight,” he said.
“This is bad. Sometimes I feel heartbroken. Yesterday, I was ready for this. I worked hard for this.”
Wayde van Niekerk won the Gold in the 400m, which was a blow to Makwala since he was considered to be a leading challenger.
Fans were upset and responded on social media:
— Kyalo Burt-Fulcher (@KyaloBF) August 8, 2017
If Makwala was a home athlete, say Mo Farah, no way would IAAF be barring him from competing. State of this… #Makwala
— Andrew Kings (@AndyKings) August 8, 2017
Unbelievably bad decision from IAAF to withdraw #Makwala from 200 & 400m. Whoever made it is an absolute moron and should be sacked.
— Jamie Frere-Smith (@Jamieofs) August 8, 2017
— Samantha Mitchell (@sam_mitchell) August 8, 2017
Makwala vomited before the 200m race and Bosse vomited after the 800m final..double standards #makwala
— August's Very Own (@koolkidkatz) August 9, 2017
The outbreak affected 30 athletes and staff at the Tower Hotel in London and are now being moved to other hotels.
IAAF spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle told BBC Sport: “It’s a sad case but we have to follow process for the health and well-being of all athletes.
“All processes have been followed, clear statements released and very clear guidelines issued to team managers and doctors on Sunday.
“We can’t go into details of athletes’ conditions. It’s better the statements and Public Health England statement stand.”
The Tower Hotel said investigations conducted with environmental health officers and athletics’ governing body the IAAF had shown the hotel was “not the source of the illness”. That has also been confirmed by Public Health England.