March 17, 2020 / 3:58 AM / 20 days ago

UK athletics tells athletes to avoid overseas training camps - The Times

(Reuters) - UK Athletics has advised its athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympics not to go abroad for training camps due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, The Times has reported.

FILE PHOTO: Summer sunshine is seen through Olympic rings displayed at Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, Japan August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Interim UK Athletics chief executive Nic Coward told athletes and staff on Friday that the recommendation would mean preparations were “compromised” but it had been made considering the global situation, the newspaper said.

The virus, which has killed more than 7,000 worldwide, has also wreaked havoc on the global sporting calendar and sparked concerns over the viability of the July 24 to Aug. 9 Games.

“British Athletics strongly recommends that athletes do not travel abroad from the UK at this time,” The Times quoted Coward as saying in the email.

“We understand that for some this will mean a compromise or change on what you feel your best preparation should look like. However, it is important to reflect this is a global situation and other nations will be facing the same challenges.

“We’re mindful of qualification and classification issues and the performance team are keeping under constant review the preparation plans for each individual athlete, against this complex, fast-moving background.”

Coward said coaches as well as support staff would not travel outside the country until further notice.

“Individual athletes, after considering all the factors, may still choose independently to travel to overseas locations and continue their preparations in that way,” he added.

“If an athlete chooses to do so, it is important to stress they will need to take responsibility for their own support provision.

“Athletes should ensure they are comfortable self-isolating or being quarantined abroad for an uncertain period of time... they should also consider the available training options if training facilities were to close.”

UK Athletics did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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