OTTAWA — Canada's governing body for track and field has asked all of its athletes training abroad to return home.
Athletics Canada also cancelled the Canadian indoor championships, which were scheduled for March 21-22 in Montreal amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization said on its website that Canadian athletes will not participate in the Florida Relays, March 29 to April 5, the Desert Challenge in Arizona (March 31-April 5), or the WPA Grand Prix (May 22-24 in Italy).
Also cancelled are two upcoming national team training camps in Daytona, Fla., March 18-30 and Flagstaff, Ariz., April 12 to May 5.
On its website, Athletics Canada posted that "all athletes that are currently training/competing outside Canada (unless residents of another country) should return to Canada as soon as possible.
"No travel will be authorized/supported by AC outside Canada for athletes, coaches and support staff through at least April 12."
Any athlete or coach who disregards the travel directive will lose staff and financial support, according to the website. There is also a growing risk that insurance coverage will not be in force should the advisory be disregarded.
Athletics Canada said it is monitoring the situation and will advise in the coming weeks on the World Race Walk Cup, April 29 to May 4, and the WPA Grand Prix Swiss Series in May.
Track and field is just one of numerous sports that have been virtually shut down by COVID-19. The world indoor championships, scheduled for this month in Nanjing, China, were one of the first major events to be shelved. They've been rescheduled for next year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2020.
The Canadian Press