Olympic hopefuls sweating on fate of championships

More may be known today as to the fate of the national track and field championships.

A meeting was held yesterday between Athletics New Zealand and centre leaders from around the country.

The championships had been scheduled to begin on Friday in Hastings and run until Sunday.

However, the move to Covid-19 Alert Level 2, and Auckland’s move to Alert Level 3, meant they could not go ahead.

Alternative options were being explored and Athletics New Zealand confirmed its preference was to hold the meeting late this month.

The process of rescheduling the meeting would not be easy.

Logistics such as athletes changing flights and uncertainty around alert levels going forward appear notable barriers.

The meeting was the last event on the domestic summer athletics schedule.

Athletics New Zealand high performance director Scott Goodman said it was important the championships went ahead.

There were at least a dozen athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics in July and the meeting would be crucial to some of them holding their rankings to qualify.

"It's massive for us.

"There are a few athletes that if they want to hold their rankings they need to do well at the nationals," Goodman said.

"They don't want their rankings to slide between now and the end of the qualifying period which is at the end of June."

The nationals are a World Athletics B category meeting and provide points towards athletes’ world rankings.

However for the sport in general, Goodman said it was important the championships were held.

He was "really hopeful" that they would go ahead.

Athletics Otago has closed the Caledonian Ground to meetings and club nights for the duration of Alert Level 2. Individuals can still use the facilities.

Meanwhile the National Football Premiership semifinals have been postponed.

Originally set to be played this weekend, they will now be played the one after.

The final has been pushed back until March 21.

If Alert Level 3 restrictions remain in place in Auckland beyond next weekend, a straight final will be played between the top two finishers, Auckland City and Team Wellington.

Team Wellington is set to play Hamilton Wanderers in one semifinal at present. The other is yet to be determined, as a rescheduled game between Eastern Suburbs and Hawke’s Bay United still needs to be played, probably some time next week.

If Suburbs win they will overtake Waitakere United in fourth and face Auckland City in the other semifinal.

If the match cannot go ahead due to Alert Level 3, a draw will be awarded and Waitakere will claim the semifinal place. — additional reporting RNZ

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