World Athletics moves start date for U20 Championships due to COVID-19

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NAIROBI, KENYA - JULY 16: Lydia Jeruto Lagat and Jackline Wambui of Kenya celebrate in the girls 800m during day 5 of the IAAF U18 World Championships at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Arena on July 16, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images for IAAF)

The start of this year’s World U20 Championships in the Kenyan capital Nairobi has been moved forward, World Athletics said on Saturday, due to logistical challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Lydia Jeruto Lagat and Jackline Wambui of Kenya celebrate in the girls 800m during day 5 of the IAAF U18 World Championships at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Arena on July 16, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images for IAAF)

The championships were due to begin on August 17 and end on August 22, but now will begin on August 18 and conclude on August 22.

“The impact of Covid on teams travelling and logistics of moving vital equipment around the world have proven to be a challenge. However, the full athletics programme is able to be accommodated across five days rather than five-and-a-half days with minimal impact on the athletes attending from more than 100 countries,” the sport’s world governing body said in a statement.

World Athletics said the new schedule will deliver a “fuller and faster paced event” while stressing its determination to give athletes as many chances to compete despite the disruptions brought about by the pandemic.

“We would like to thank our athletes and their teams, our suppliers and the local organising committee in Kenya for accommodating this change and working collaboratively in challenging times to stage a great championships for these young, promising athletes as they begin their athletics journey,” the statement added.

The last World U20 championships were held in Tampere, Finland, in 2018.

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