Nairobi, Aug 15 (IANS) The World Athletics U20 Championships scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya between August 17-22 will now begin a day later, on August 18, and finish on August 22.
World Athletics (WA) said in a statement on Saturday evening that the schedule change had been necessitated due to Covid-19. “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 new schedule delivers a fuller and faster paced event and we are delighted that the broadcast rights for these championships have been taken up by more than 14 countries, with 12 of them showing the event live. For all other countries, World Athletics will be live-streaming the morning and evening sessions on its YouTube channel,” WA said.
India’s javelin thrower Kunwar Ajai Raj Singh Rana and long jumper Shaili Singh are leading a strong Indian challenge and have already left for Nairobi.
According to the entry lists released by World Athletics, Kunwar Ajai Raj Singh Rana is third in men’s javelin with a season’s best of 74.75m while Shaili Singh is fifth in women’s long jump with 6.48m.
If they can replicate their best form, they could be in the hunt to add to the medals won by Seema Antil (discus, 2002), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (discus, 2014), Neeraj Chopra (javelin, 2016) and Hima Das (400m, 2018).
There are others like triple jumper Donald Makimaraj (sixth with 15.76m), shot putter Amandeep Singh Dhaliwal (eighth with 19.15m), Amit (third in 10,000m race walk), Priya H. Mohan (seventh in 400m) and Ankita Dhyani (sixth in 5000m) who can raise the bar and showcase India’s progress in track and field sport.
“Over the past 18 months World Athletics has been determined to give athletes as many opportunities as possible to compete, despite the complex conditions the world still faces in fighting 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,” WA said.