COVID shadow on China World Athletics Relays



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2023 World Athletics Relays postponed Image: South Gate of Tianhe Stadium, PQ77wd, CC BY-SA 4.0

The 2023 World Athletics Relays scheduled for May 13th-14th in Guangzhou, China, has been postponed to 2025, the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) confirmed recently. China’s strict COVID-19 policy has impacted yet another major event.

The World Athletics Council has moved the event until April or May in 2025, with the exact dates yet to be confirmed.

‘english.news.cn’ stated that the CAA announced the postponement of the biennial event in a statement on its website, adding that the above decision was made with consent from the World Athletics, the local organizers and the CAA because of the COVID seesaw in China and the country’s strict pandemic regulations in place.

The World Athletics Relays, known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays until 2019, is an international biennial track and field sporting event held by World Athletics where teams from around the world compete in relay races, some of which are not part of the standard Olympic program. Originally intended as an annual event, it was later decided to happen every odd year, the same as the World Athletics Championships for which it serves as a qualification stage.

Monaco-based World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation and the International Association of Athletics Federations, is the international governing body for the sport of athletics, covering track and field, cross country running, road running, race walking, mountain running, and ultra running.

The Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) is the national governing body for the sport of athletics in the People’s Republic of China. It became a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations in 1978 and is also a member of the Asian Athletics Association.

‘english.news.cn’ further stated that the CAA has pledged to work closely with the local organizers and stage a successful event in 2025.

The 2023 World Athletics Relays was expected to serve as a qualifying event for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

To avoid this, the World Athletics Competition Commission has revised the qualification system to include the top eight teams from the Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships (held from July 15th-24th, 2022) and the top eight teams from the performance lists.

By doing so, the aim is to repeat a similar qualification system by still qualifying part of the field through direct competition and part through performance in the qualification period.

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