Ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions force organisers to explore alternative dates for the 2021 World Cross Country Championships

The 2021 World Cross Country Championships, currently scheduled for March 20 next year, looks set to take place at a later date following a request from organisers that the event be postponed.

Following the first day of its 222nd Council meeting, World Athletics announced that the global governing body will work closely with all stakeholders in Australia to explore the feasibility of other dates for the event taking place in Bathurst, New South Wales.

“This is due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures currently implemented within Australia to contain it. This includes the closure of Australia’s international borders,” explained World Athletics.

“The Board of the Local Organising Committee, World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021, the Athletics Australia board and the New South Wales Government have reinforced their strong desire to host this world championship and have asked World Athletics to postpone the event to a future date to be determined.”

Mark Arbib, president of Athletics Australia, said: “Whilst extremely disappointed to be making this recommendation, Athletics Australia and the LOC remain committed to the delivery of an outstanding world championship event, once we are confident that the best international cross country athletes can make their way to New South Wales and interstate travel is not restricted.”

In May, Bathurst 2021 organisers announced how the aim is to take the event to an “even higher level” following the success of the 2019 championships in Aarhus.

READ MORE: Bathurst 2021 World Cross celebrates 300 days to go

Details released at that point included plans for mass participation, club challenge and para races.

Also on Thursday, World Athletics announced new dates for the postponed World U20 Championships Nairobi 2020 and World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Minsk 2020.

The World U20 Championships will now be held in Nairobi, Kenya from August 17-22, 2021, one week after the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Under the competition’s rules, athletes aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on December 31, 2021, will be eligible to compete.

The World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships has been rescheduled for April 23-24, 2022, in Minsk, Belarus.

The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Yangzhou 2022 has also had a small date change, moving back one week from March 20, 2022, to March 27, 2022.

“The disruption caused by the global pandemic has made it more difficult to schedule international events over the next two years but we want to give as much certainty as we can to our athletes, member federations, host cities and partners,” said World Athletics president Seb Coe.

“We have done our best to choose dates that we believe are achievable and offer the best chance for our athletes and event hosts to shine on the international stage.”

Set protected national championships windows have been announced for the next four years as World Athletics looks to avoid calendar clashes with events such as the Wanda Diamond League. More on that news can be found here.

» For more on the latest athletics news, athletics events coverage and athletics updates, check out the AW homepage and our social media channels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram