European Athletics Championships cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

The European Athletics Championships scheduled for Paris in August has become the latest high-profile event to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A local organising committee (LOC) and the French Athletics Federation (FFA) had been looking at ways to hold the event this year but the ongoing situation means the event at Charlety Stadium from 25-30 August has been scrapped.

With Munich set to host the championships in 2022, it was decided against following the lead of the Olympics and World Championships and postponing the event by 12 months.

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European Athletics interim president Dobromir Karamarinov said: “It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships.”

The European Athletics Championships follows major sporting events such as Wimbledon and The Open to be mothballed this year.

Following an LOC executive committee meeting after an earlier gathering between the relevant authorities, the decision to cancel was driven by the associated risks linked to the current situation, as well as the existing ban on mass gatherings in France.

Karamarinov added: “We had hoped in these troubled times to offer European athletes a major event to aim for at the end of this summer.

“Unfortunately, today we were informed by the LOC and French athletics federation that, after discussions with the relevant French national and local public health and safety authorities, they were no longer able to proceed with delivering the championships this August and were forced to cancel the event.

“Whilst we regret announcing the cancellation of our European Athletics Championships, it is worth reiterating that in these unprecedented times the health and safety of all athletics’ stakeholders including athletes, fans, officials, partners and everyone connected with the sport is paramount.

“We will always do what is best for the members of our athletics family and the wider public.”

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Paula Radcliffe pays heartfelt tribute after her dad died

Paula Radcliffe announced on Thursday her father had died and praised coronavirus doctors and nurses.

The three-times London Marathon winner, 46, posted a tribute to Peter and said he was the “best dad anyone could ever wish for.”

Paula shared a photo of them together on a beach when she was a little girl.

She also posted snaps of her with her dad and mum Pat and with other family members.

Peter died at Salisbury District Hospital, Wilts, on Wednesday.

She told her 27,000 Instagram followers: “Yesterday I lost the best dad anyone could ever wish for.

“The kindest, wisest, most patient and brave man who leaves behind so many people who loved him so much and whose lives he enriched.

“He and my mum gave us everything we ever needed and so much fun and love.

“He was always there for me and the guidance and outlook on life he gave me will ensure he is forever with me.”

She added: “Everyone who knew him was better off for it.

“Thank you Dad, you will always be in our hearts and thoughts.

“Love you forever.”

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World Athletics Championship in Oregon moved to July 2022 to avoid clash with Olympic Games

The World Athletics Championships in Oregon have been moved from August 2021 to July 2022 to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Olympic Games.

The Tokyo 2020 Games have been postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus crisis, with Japan announcing a state of emergency last week as it battles the disease. In order to avoid having the sport’s most prestigious events in the same summer, the World Championships have now be moved to run from 15-24 July the following year.

Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, hinted last week that the sport would attempt to accommodate the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games alongside the Worlds in one stacked summer within a six-week period, and that will now be the case.

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Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealths are set to begin on 27 July, while Munich’s 2022 European Championships are due to start two weeks later on the 11 August. The Commonwealth Games could yet be moved to an earlier date, but the likelihood is that it will stay put.

Top British athletes, like the 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith, will therefore face a difficult decision over which competitions to take on, although Coe insisted he wanted the “treble” to be a possibility.

“I do want the treble to be on,” Coe said last week. “I’m not going to speculate on any further discussions because they are ongoing. I really do want to try and make this work, but there will inevitably be some compromises along the road.”

World Athletics said in a statement that it “approved the new dates this week after extensive discussions with the sport’s stakeholders”.

Athletics in summer of 2022

  • World Championships, 15-24 July
  • Commonwealth Games, 27 July-7 August
  • European Championships, 11-21 August

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