No Africans will be at the start of the half marathon in Trieste, a city in northeastern Italy near the Slovenian border on 5 May. After all, the organization decided to admit only European participants in protest against the “exploitation” of African athletes. The decision causes a lot of criticism.
According to competition organizer Fabio Carini, there is today “a commercial trade in African runners” that are “exploited and underpaid”. “This is unacceptable and we can no longer let it pass. It is time for measures to be taken. To make that clear, we decided to invite only European athletes this year”, Carini is quoted in La Repubblica
The remarkable decision puts the organization on considerable criticism. Among other things, MEP Isabella De Monte talks about “cleansing in sport”.
“Professional athletes are being refused because they are from Africa. We have to be careful because we have been saying it for months. The situation threatens to slip out of our hands and we slide into dark hours. There can only be one reaction to such decisions: indignation. Sport is sharing, being one, equality, loyalty and respect. We teach our children that. But what example do we set with such decisions,” she wonders.