Australia No world champs for Australian relay teams

04:41  11 april  2021
04:41  11 april  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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The World Athletics Relays , known as the IAAF World Relays until 2019, is an international biennial track and field sporting event where teams from around the world compete in relay races, some of which are not part of the standard Olympic programme.

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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.

a woman standing on a beach: Australia's relay athletes will not compete at the World Athletics Relay Championships next month. © AP PHOTO Australia's relay athletes will not compete at the World Athletics Relay Championships next month.

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.

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The IAAF World Road Relay Championships was a biennial international athletics competition in long-distance relay running. First organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 1992, the championship ran for four editions, with its last one occurring in 1998.

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.

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