By Owen Morgan
Welsh Athletics have postponed a number of events planned for the weekend due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The governing body has also issued advice to clubs, coaches and athletes regarding training and competing as well as travelling abroad.
In a post on its website, Welsh Athletics says it has made the “difficult decision” to call off the following events this weekend:
- the annual officials’ conference in Cardiff on Sunday
- the throws, jumps and sprints national development programme day at the National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cardiff
- the endurance regional development day for East and South Wales
Mentoring workshops scheduled for March 28 and 29 have also been postponed.
The article says: “At this moment in time, Welsh Athletics must look to minimise risk where possible, and we would have no way of absolutely guaranteeing everyone’s protection from the virus this weekend.”
There is likely to be further disruption of events including coaching and officials’ courses.
The governing body says it will be posting further information on its website, which will be regularly updated as advice is likely to be added to and amended as and when the situation develops.
Separate guidance for competition providers and race organisers has been issued by UK Athletics and published on the Welsh Athletics website.
Anyone responsible for an event in Wales that is cancelled, should email email@example.com and the information will be shared by Welsh Athletics’ communications channels.
The statement adds that Welsh Athletics is reviewing its upcoming international training camps and overseas competitions for athlete groups and staff.
In light of the spread of #COVID19 a number of this weekend’s events have been postponed – please read – includes guidance for clubs, athletes & comp providers. https://t.co/UcMgeUEDLE pic.twitter.com/cTZkFye4CJ
— Welsh Athletics | Athletau Cymru (@WelshAthletics) March 12, 2020
“The situation may change quickly so please ensure you are checking communications regularly.
“We are considering the risks of athletes and staff contracting the virus, interruption of training for larger groups due to quarantine and/or isolation in international or domestic venues, the risk of transmission of infection within an overseas training group and how this can be handled with uncertainty about local public health measures.
“Further to this, we have to review the impact of travel restrictions and not being able to guarantee travel plans or being able to respond if travel plans need to change.”
All clubs, athletes and coaches are advised to consider:
- what are your training options if your local training locations are closed by the public health authorities?
- is there an adequate provision in place at clubs/training venues to be able to follow public health guidance around minimising the spread of the disease e.g. hand washing
- should any training practices be adapted to minimise physical contact & proximity?
If athletes are considering travelling abroad independently, they should consider the following:
- do you have medical insurance for where you are in the world – please make sure this is in place.
- are you able to self-isolate in your current location?
- are you comfortable being quarantined in your current location if a widespread travel ban was in place and you were unable to leave?
Meanwhile, a number of international events involving Welsh athletes have already been cancelled.
They include the World University Cross Country Championships in Morocco, where Jenny Nesbitt was due to compete and the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland where Josh Griffiths had been selected for Great Britain.
Earlier this week, teenage Neath javelin thrower Bethany Moule was selected to represented GB at the European Throwing Cup in Portugal, only for the event to be postponed the following day.
For more information and the latest updates, keep an eye on the Welsh Athletics website and communication channels.