SYDNEY — Australia will not be sending a team to the 2021 World Athletics Relay Championships Silesia21, Athletics Australia confirmed on Sunday. The relay festival is slated to take place in Silesia, Poland on 1-2 May.
Athletics Australia revealed that the decision to withdraw Team Australia from the event this year was made over concerns with the spread of the COVID-19 in Poland and the overall development of the virus across greater Europe.
Darren Gocher, the Athletics Australia CEO, admits that the athletes were disappointed about not being able to compete in the first global championships since the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted that the safety and wellbeing of the Australian participants were mainly considered in the decision-making process.
“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 in a release on the Athletics Australia website on Sunday.
“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 international travel 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.”
The 2021 World Athletics Relay Championships Silesia21 presented an opportunity for teams to achieve the qualifying standards for the Olympic Games in Japan later this summer.
However, in the light of Team Australia missing the events, Athletics Australia revealed that it will now look to host relay-specific meetings in June with the support of Oceania Athletics, in an attempt to give the country’s relay teams a chance of making the qualifying standards for the Games.