By Owen Morgan
If you’ve been missing the crack of the starter’s pistol, here’s some good news.
Regular competitive athletics is on its way back to Wales this spring and summer.
Welsh Athletics has published a provisional track and field fixtures framework for competitions in Wales.
The document sets out opportunities for junior, club and elite athletes to compete as the nation emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.
Finally, I can say I am back on the start line this Saturday. I’m far from my best shape but I’m as excited as ever to begin my quest to qualify for my second Commonwealth Games. The race this weekend will be on the road with a 5km at the @podium5k in Manchester 🏃🏻♂️💪🏼🦁 pic.twitter.com/cuyTkRcHIn
— Jonathan Hopkins (@Jonny_Hops) March 29, 2021
In order to give athletes time to properly prepare for this year’s Welsh championships, both junior and senior events have been postponed until later this summer.
However, there will be plenty of smaller event specific open meetings in a range of age groups to allow athletes to return to competition.
There will also be opportunities to compete at international level in Wales and around the UK.
Welsh Athletics head of competitions Rhiannon Linington-Payne said: “The last few months have been some of the most challenging, but we are delighted to now be in a position to advertise a provisional structure for athletics fixtures in Wales for the coming track and field season.
“We delivered some small, but incredibly successful competitions at the end of last summer and these will form a platform for us to build on as we return to activity in 2021.
“Changes to this structure are likely with the ever-fluctuating nature of the current climate, but we are really pleased to be able to give athletes, clubs and coaches some target dates for the forthcoming season.
“Once again, thank you to everyone for their patience through what has been an incredibly challenging period.”
In house junior club activity has resumed with local junior competition hopefully beginning again at the start of May.
Welsh Athletics CEO James Williams welcomed the return of junior training activities following the relaxation of Welsh Government restrictions last Friday.
Williams said: “This is another positive step forward for the sport. We are delighted to be able to welcome back juniors into our sport – the athletes, coaches, and clubs have been desperate to get back to enjoying their athletics.
“We hope to see all our clubs re-starting and offering the opportunity for juniors from across Wales to get back to running, jumping, and throwing.
“The next step is to re-start junior competitions on a very local level – hopefully, this will be the case in the not too distant future.
“We will continue to work with Welsh Government and Sport Wales and make the case for a wider return for sport, and we hope the next three-week review will see a further easing of restrictions.”
All being well, event specific senior elite events continue on April 21with an endurance meeting planned for Newport.
Open meetings will return on May 5, with the first of a number of planned events starting with a sprints competition being held in North Wales.
The first domestic international opportunity to represent Wales will be the annual Loughborough International on May 23.
While the annual Welsh Athletics International is provisionally scheduled for July 21.
The Welsh Junior Championships have been rearranged for July 31 and August 1, with the Welsh Senior Championships planned for August 14 and 15.
The full list of events can be found on the Welsh Athletics website. All dates are subject to change.
Extensive guidance surrounding the return to athletics activities are also available on the Welsh Athletics Website.