Athletics Australia has announced that it will not send a team to the World Under 20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya this August, and will instead provide selected athletes will international competition experience at home in Australia.
The decision to withdraw the team from the World Under 20 Championships was made this week in consultation with parents and guardians of athletes, and comes after a detailed review of many factors identified by Athletics Australia and the Australian Government.
Some of these factors include the heightened risk of terrorism throughout Kenya, the impacts of COVID-19 and quarantine rules surrounding under age athletes, as well as insurance implications when travelling to Kenya.
Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer Peter Bromley said the decision was one that was not made lightly, but was a decision that was made with the health and wellbeing of athletes, staff and coaches front of mind.
“We’ve seen outstanding performances from our junior athletes over the summer season, with so many athletes proving themselves worthy of selection for their first Australian representative team, however we believe there are too many risks associated with travelling to Kenya,” he said.
“We understand the importance of competition and team environment opportunities for our junior athletes and with this in mind, Athletics Australia will still recognise the achievements of these athletes and provide them with an alternative solution to compete after selection.”
“We will select a team based on our current selection policy, and these athletes will compete against athletes from the Oceania region as an Australian team. This is still a really exciting opportunity for these athletes, and one that we will make as special as possible as they get their first taste of what it means to be an Australian representative.”
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Athletics Australia will announce the representative team in the following weeks, and is currently working with Athletics New Zealand and Oceania Athletics on two different competition opportunities, with a camp to provide a team environment experience. Athletes will also be provided with Australian Team uniform to recognise their achievements leading up to their selection.