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Australian Junior Track & Field Championships cancelled and Australian Senior Championships postponed

Published Fri 13 Mar 2020

Athletics Australia have taken the decision to cancel the 2020 Australian Junior (U14-U18) Track & Field Championships, which will not be re-scheduled and have postponed the 2020 Australian Senior (U20, Open and Para) Track & Field Championships to a date or dates to be determined.

With the current threat of coronavirus impacting the health and welfare of Australians, Athletics Australia has today taken guidance from the Australian & State Government’s (COAG) and other health authorities.  This decision is in line with today’s recommendation that non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people should not proceed. 

President Mark Arbib said; “We are all deeply distressed to have to make this decision and understand the impact this will have on our athletics community. 

“Following today’s COAG recommendations and our own expert medical advice - we must put the health and safety of our athletes, officials, staff, volunteers and spectators at the forefront of all decision making. AA will endeavour to keep members informed as we move into these unchartered waters and work to qualify our athletes for Tokyo,” Mr Arbib said. 
Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer Darren Gocher said; “The community’s health and well-being was the major concern and that athletics has a responsibility to assist authorities in limiting the spread and impact of COVID-19,” 
“We have an obligation to assist the endeavours in slowing the peak of the pandemic and to minimise the workload of our health care professionals,” Mr. Gocher said. 
“We have been in close contact with all major bodies around this decision, including the World Health Organisation, the Australian Institute of Sport, Paralympics Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee,” he added. 
“We are obviously looking at the implications for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics.  The decision to postpone and not cancel the Open, U20 and Para Australian Championships has been taken so we can hold them at a later date to be determined and provide the qualification opportunities for both the Olympics and Paralympics,” Mr. Gocher said.  
“As a high World Athletics ranking point competition for the Olympic Games we will do our upmost to make these Championships and other qualification opportunities available for our athletes,” he added. 
Athletics Australia Chief Medical Officer – Dr Paul Blackman re-iterated the decision. 
“This decision is due to the first documented cases of community transmission of COVID 19 and as an organisation that draws athletes, coaches, families and spectators from every Australian state, we are complying with public health policy to slow the spread of COVID 19 for the benefit of the greater community,” Dr Blackman said. 
Details around refunds to all tickets that have been sold to the 2020 Australian Track & Field Championships will be made available soon. 
As a consequence of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, effective immediately, Athletics Australia has determined that there will be no international travel for athletes, coaches and support staff until further notice.  

Questions & Answers around the 2020 Australian Track & Field Championships