The path to the Tokyo Olympics for Australia’s relay teams just got more complicated with COVID-19 concerns denying them a chance to qualify next month in Europe.
Athletics Australia (AA) on Sunday said a team would not be sent to the World Athletics Relay Championships in Poland on May 1-2, due to COVID-19 concerns.
The decision was made with safety of the athletes paramount and only after string consideration of the associated risks with travelling to Europe and the quarantine requirements on return to Australia.
Athletics Australia CEO Darren Gocher said the withdrawal is a blow for athletes.
“It is always disappointing to withdraw a team from a major event however we believe the decision is in the best interest of the health and safety of our athletes, staff and coaches,” Gocher said.
“We acknowledge the work World Athletics is doing in attempting to hold a safe event ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, however after seeking the advice of medical professionals and considering health risks, current government advice and the need to quarantine upon return to Australia, it was decided it is not viable or safe to travel to Poland for this event.”
AA is planning to host relay specific events in June with the support of Oceania Athletics, to give Australia’s relay teams a shot at meeting the qualifying standards for July’s Games in Tokyo.