Canadian Olympic track and field hopefuls will have shot to qualify at home

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OTTAWA — Athletics Canada will stage a series of events on home soil to give athletes more chances to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Athletics Canada Tokyo Qualifier Series will feature nine meets in 10 cities. Athletes will have a chance to achieve Olympic or Paralympic qualification standards and gain world ranking points.

Because of travel and border restrictions, Canadian-based athletes have had fewer qualifying opportunities than usual for the Games.

The series starts May 21 in Ottawa and ends June 29 in Montreal, the final date for qualification for the Tokyo Games.

Other events are in Windsor, Ont., Toronto, Guelph, Ont., Kamloops, B.C., Victoria, Burnaby, B.C., Vancouver and Calgary.

The Tokyo Olympics open July 23. The Paralympics begin Aug. 24.

“With more than half of our national team athletes based in Canada, and spots on Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic teams on the line, we felt it was our responsibility to offer a series of quality domestic competitions,” Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada’s high performance director, said in a statement.

“Our athletes, including medal hopefuls, were facing a significant challenge knowing where to compete without crossing the border to the United States or boarding a flight to compete internationally — and having to quarantine upon arrival and return."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press