By Owen Morgan
Competitive track and field athletics is set to return to Wales for the first time since the sport was locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Welsh Athletics has announced details of two pilot events which will take place in Aberdare and Swansea on the weekend of August 15 and 16.
The Ron Jones Stadium will host a throws event on the Saturday, while the Swansea University facility will be the venue for a track event the next day.
Although the disciplines available and the number of athletes taking part will be strictly limited, these events are seen as significant milestones for the return of athletics. Both events will be held behind closed doors.
Welsh Athletics head of competitions Rhiannon Linington-Payne said: “Whilst these events will operate with very limited numbers, this is an important step for the sport in Wales as we begin to implement the restrictions details in our Return to Competition guidance documents, released last week.
Launch of Welsh Athletics Pilot Competitions –
Welsh Athletics are delighted to now be able to confirm full details of the pilot Track & Field events to take place on Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th August.https://t.co/5InF3qFjcd
— @welshathletics (@WelshAthletics) July 30, 2020
“It is the hope that these events will allow us to assess the new measures in place at events and ensure that clubs and competition providers can be given a template for event delivery that is safe and compliant with current Welsh Government regulations.
“As more facilities across Wales come back online, we will be able to confirm a wider competition programme for the remainder of the 2020 season.”
The throws meeting at the Ron Jones Stadium will be for under-20 and senior athletes.
The disciplines featured will be shot put, hammer, discus and javelin. Each competition will be limited to six athletes.
As well as no spectators, a number of other key restrictions will be in place to ensure these events are compliant with current Welsh Government legislation.
Athletes may nominate one person to accompany them to the event if they wish, but no other individuals will be permitted access to the venue.
Athletes will only be allowed to enter one event at any competition.
Male and female athletes will compete together, and will be seeded on performances where appropriate.
The maximum number of athletes for these events is fixed in order to comply with Welsh Government legislation on gathering sizes and takes into consideration the number of athletes, accompanying persons and officials in the facility at any given time.
The same restrictions will be in place for the track event in Swansea on Sunday which will see races run over 100m, 400m and 800m. Each competition will be limited to 15 athletes.
Entries for both these events will open at 10am on Friday 31st July, and will close either once fully subscribed or at 5pm on Wednesday 5th August.
Athletes entering these events will need to ensure that they are fully registered with their club and that their Welsh Athletics registration is paid for 2020-21.
Two events for under-15 and under17 age group athletes are also planned for the following weekend – August 22-23 at the same venues.
The Saturday sees the Ron Jones stadium host a throws event featuring shot put, hammer, discus and javelin, while Swansea will host track races over 100m, 200m and 800m the following day.