The fate of this year’s African Athletics Championships is unclear after the Algerian government postponed the event, without giving any new dates, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
It is a third delay to the biennial event which should have taken place in 2020 before being postponed by a year due to Covid-19.
The plan was to hold the championships in the Algerian city of Oran between the 1st and 5th June 2021 before it was then moved to Algiers and set to take place 22-26 June.
The Confederation of African Athletics are yet to make a public statement about this latest setback for the continental showpiece.
With the Olympics set to begin in Tokyo in July the news will come as a blow to athletes across the continent who were hoping to use the championships in a final bid to achieve the qualifying standard for The Games.
The sport’s global governing body, World Athletics, has set 29 June 2021 as the deadline for reaching the qualifying mark to take part at the 2020 Olympics.
The Algerian Ministry of Youth and Sports (MJS) said in a statement the delay came “due to the health situation, marked by a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the risk of circulation of new variant(s).”
The ministry added it was “following the recommendations of the scientific monitoring committee of the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“The MJS called on the Algerian Athletics Federation (FAA) to make the necessary arrangements to inform the officials of the Confederation of African Athletics in order to agree new dates for the holding of these championships as soon as the health situation improves.”
The African Athletics Championships were last held in the Nigerian city of Asaba in 2018.