The World Athletics Championships in London have been hit by an outbreak of gastroenteritis as visiting athletes have been laid low by stomach upsets.
Several Botswana, German, Canadian, Irish and Puerto Rican athletes staying at the Tower Hotel, near Tower Bridge, have been taken ill over the last few days, with some put into effective quarantine and others forced to miss their events. Thirty German competitors arriving on Tuesday will be moved to other accommodation.
Organizers ordered a quarantine on one floor of The Tower Hotel, which serves as an official team hotel, after a number of athletes were affected by stomach infections.
Public Health England has already announced that as many as 30 people associated with the World Championships, including athletes and support staff, have been struck by the virus, the BBC reported.
One of the highest-profile victims was Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who was withdrawn from the 200-metre heats on Monday after vomiting in the call room where athletes make their final preparations.
Makwala is now hoping to be cleared to race in Tuesday’s 400m final, where he had been among the main threats to world record holder Wayde van Niekerk.
“According to IAAF medics I am apparently suffering from food poisoning which has affected several other athletes in the athletes’ hotel,” Makwala wrote on his Facebook page late on “Lets hope they will allow me to run my final tomorrow.”
Irish athletes were staying at the Tower and their 400m hurdler Thomas Barr was another to suffer, missing his semi-final on Monday.
“I wasn’t feeling great yesterday evening and later in the night I was hit with a bout of gastroenteritis,” he said. “My whole year has been focused on the World Championships and to not be able to go out and compete for Ireland today is beyond disappointing.”
At least seven Canadians were affected, including Eric Gillis, who was forced to drop out of Sunday’s marathon after around 20 miles.
“I was one of the athletes in quarantine,” Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown said. “I was in my room the entire day in the dark. I was like a vampire. I was holding my stomach the entire night.”
Brown recovered well enough to race in Monday’s 200m heats and ran an impressive 20.08 seconds, only to be disqualified for a lane violation.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was also physically sick before the 100 metres final on Sunday, though the Jamaican said that was not unusual for her and hadn’t had any effect on her below-par performance. She finished fifth.