The men’s defending Xterra world champion, Bradley Weiss, won’t be in Maui this weekend to defend his title due to the “unjustified and unwarranted travel ban on Southern African countries leaves me locked away and unable to defend my world title” he wrote in an Instagram post today.
“I know there are others in this world with far greater issues than my own and in time, this will fade away to insignificance, but right now it is simply devastating,” Weiss continued.
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Health experts around the world have said that the travel bans probably won’t help prevent the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus from spreading, and it has been detected in over 20 countries, including Canada. South African officials have expressed frustration that the country’s advanced infectious disease infrastructure helped identify the new variant, only to have the country shut down from the rest of the world. At this point travel bans have been put in place for South African and five other bordering countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia), but not for any of the other countries that have found cases of the new variant.
Two weeks ago Weiss made his full-distance debut at the Ironman African Championship, where he finished fifth after running a 2:49:32 marathon.
Flora Duffy, the women’s defending Xterra world champion, will be on hand to try and defend her title in Maui this weekend. It has already been quite a year for the Olympic gold medalist and WTCS world champion, who hopes to take her sixth Xterra world title this weekend.