UK Athletics cancels overseas training camps for Olympic and Paralympic athletes

Laura Muir will not be travelling to a training camp in Arizona (PA Images)
Laura Muir will not be travelling to a training camp in Arizona (PA Images)
10:00am, Tue 17 Mar 2020
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Team GB Olympic and Paralympic training camps have been cancelled due to coronavirus.

The 2020 Games are currently scheduled to go ahead in Tokyo from July 24 - August 9 but organisers are in discussions over how to deliver them safely amid the pandemic.

An email sent by UK Athletics chief executive, Nic Coward, to athletes and staff was shared with The Times.

It said: "We understand that for some this will mean a compromise or change on what you feel your best preparation should look like. However, it is important to reflect that this is a global situation and other nations will be facing the same challenges.”

Coward added that a UKA crisis team consisting of senior performance staff and chief medical officer, Noel Pollock was integral to their decision making and assured that their advice was being taken into serious consideration.

“We are of course coming into what has been long-planned as a period of warm weather and altitude training camps, as an important aspect of preparation for many athletes for Tokyo,” he said.

“We are mindful of qualification and classification issues and the performance team are keeping under constant review the preparation plans for each individual athlete, against this complex, fast-moving background."

GB middle-distance runner Laura Muir was set to travel to Flagstaff, Arizona for a high-altitude training camp later this month.

She has said she will instead continue to train in Glasgow in the hope of staying on the top of her game ahead of the Olympics.

Coward added: “British Athletics strongly recommends that athletes do not travel abroad from the UK at this time.

“Individual athletes, after considering all the factors, may still choose independently to travel to overseas locations and continue their preparations in that way.

“If an athlete chooses to do so, it is important to stress that they will need to take responsibility for their own support provision.

“Our continued goal is for athlete success in Tokyo. This of course creates challenges and has to be balanced with health and welfare and we will continue to provide the best advice and assistance we can.”

The International Olympic Committee and heads of international sports federations will meet today via a tele-conference, in order to discuss disruptions to qualifying events.

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