Athletics New Zealand has announced they will not be fielding a team at the World Under 18 Championships, scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in July this year.
The decision to not send a team to the championships comes after considerable deliberation, discussion with other federations, input from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (MFAT) and information obtained from athletes and Athletics New Zealand staff having been in the region recently.
A number of countries have announced they will not be participating at the championships including Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Switzerland with others currently considering their options.
MFAT’s status for Kenya is currently high risk, with kidnapping, hijacking, terrorism and violent crime among major concerns. MFAT are currently advising against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Nairobi.
Following a recommendation from the sport’s High Performance department, the Athletics New Zealand Board agreed that Athletics New Zealand should not send a team to the 2017 IAAF World Under 18 Championships in Nairobi, based on safety concerns.
Athletics New Zealand High Performance Director Scott Goodman said it was a disappointing decision for athletes who may have been selected for the championships, but that there will be other international opportunities for that age group in 2017.
“Above all else, the safety of our young athletes, team support staff along with family and friends who would be travelling with the team, are our first priority," said Goodman.
“The Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, the Oceania Area Championships in Fiji and the Australian championships will all provide good competition for our top under 18 athletes,” Goodman added.