NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – World Athletics has announced that the World Under-20 Championships will now be held from August 17-22 next year, one week after the Tokyo Olympics, having been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Championship had been scheduled to be held this month, but was postponed due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Athletics Kenya had hoped World Athletics would retain the competition as there were earlier fears that it might be scrapped due to a clogged calendar.
“We are definitely very excited that we now have a date. It’s been a while waiting to know when the event will take place. We were afraid they would have said 2022 but 2021 is what we wanted,” Athletics Kenya Youth Committee chair Barnaba Korir told Capital Sport.
“The athletes will now continue with their training in camps and at least now they know the dates. We will continue assisting them in their programs. Also this is an opportunity for us because we didn’t have many field event athletes and sprinters but now we have a whole year to ensure we get them and prepare for the event,” Korir added.
Meanwhile, a number of athletes might be locked out of the event after World Athletics announced the age cut for participants would be those aged between 16 and 19 years on 31 December, 2021.
Previously, the age was based on the event taking place in 2020.
“We will have a few who will have passed the age by next year but at least around 80pc of our athletes will still be within that age bracket,” Korir said.
This will be the second international event Kenya will host post- COVID-19, with the Continental Tour set to be staged at the Nyayo National Stadium on September 26.
Meanwhile, World Athletics has announced that the World Half Marathon Championships set for Yangzhou in 2022 has moved back one week, from 20 March to 27 March.
At the same time, organizers for the World Cross Country Championships which were scheduled for Bathurst, Australia in March next year have asked to explore alternative dates for the event.
Organizers have informed World Athletics that this is due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures currently implemented within Australia to contain it.