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Isaac Makwala withdrawn from world championships as norovirus hits athletes

A main contender for the men's 400m has been forced to withdraw from the world championships. Around 30 German competitors have also been affected by the norovirus bug, with athletes moved to a different hotel in London.

Botswanan 400m runner Isaac Makwala was withdrawn from the world 400m final on Tuesday after an outbreak of the norovirus bug at a hotel hosting athletes at the world championships.

Having recorded a time of 43.84 last month in Monaco, Makwala was considered the main rival to world-record holder and reigning Olympic and world champion Wayde van Niekerk.

"Isaac Makwala was withdrawn from the men's 400m final due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF medical delegate," world athletics' ruling body said in a statement.

Makwala was withdrawn from the first round of the men's 200m on Monday for the same reason, but insisted on Tuesday that he was ready to run the 400m, before the IAAF stepped in.

German team affected

Großbritannien Leichtathletik-WM 2017 in London Dreisprung Neele Eckhardt (Getty Images/AFP/A. Isakovic)

German triple jumper Neele Eckhardt collapsed but was well enough to compete on Saturday

Thirty German competitors arriving on Tuesday, as well as Olympic javelin champion Thomas Rohler who arrived on Monday, have been moved to different hotels than the one at which most of the athletes have been staying.

"It is purely a precautionary measure," German team spokesman Peter Schmitt said.

However, German triple jumper Neele Eckhardt collapsed but was well enough to compete on Saturday, and took part in Monday's final.

Public Health England (PHE) said 30 athletes and support staff had been affected at a central London hotel, with two cases confirmed as being the norovirus bug.

"PHE has been notified of a confirmed outbreak of norovirus among people associated with the World Athletics Championships," PHE's Dr. Deborah Turbitt said.

"We have so far been made aware of approximately 30 people reporting illness and two of these cases have been confirmed as norovirus by laboratory testing. PHE has been working closely with the London 2017 organizers and the hotel to provide infection control advice to limit the spread of illness."

Norovirus is often caught through close contact with someone carrying the virus or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. The virus, which causes symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, is rarely serious, with most people making a full recovery within one or two days, without requiring treatment.

mds/pfd (AFP, AP)