The Canadian relay squad that has been training in Baton Rouge in Louisiana in the US over the past week will no longer be going to world relays. Canada now joins Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia and US in missing the event.
Athletics Canada made the decision in the light of the COVID-19 situation in Poland, as well as a rise in cases in Canada and around the world.
“The safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority,” said Athletics Canada’s high performance director Simon Nathan.
“Though showing signs of improvement, Poland is reporting a very high level of COVID-19 and travellers are strongly encouraged to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of Poland, even those who are fully vaccinated.
“Most of the Canadian team is not vaccinated, neither are most of the people who will be involved with the competition, therefore, there are increased risks associated with gathering alongside others from different parts of the world.
“We know this is disappointing news given the implications it may have on qualifying for the Olympic Games – however, we made this decision with our team’s health and safety at heart.
“If an athlete were to contract COVID-19, it will compromise their preparation for Tokyo – even if they are asymptomatic – as they will be required to self-isolate.
“It will also compromise everyone with whom they have had close contact with, as they will have to isolate regardless of their symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test.
“These issues are magnified for a relay team, as compared to individual events.”
Canada had entered men’s and women’s 4×100 metres relay teams as well as women’s and mixed 4x400m relay teams for the event.
Poland recorded 7,235 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, with 193 new deaths.