The European Athletics U18 Championships which were due to take place in Rieti, Italy from 26-29 August have sadly been cancelled.
Staged for the first time in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2016, the third edition of the championships were initially planned to take place in Rieti in July 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic caused the postponement of the event until August 2021.
But the continuation of the pandemic, the high infection rates in many European countries and the logistical challenges of staging a major European event for U18 athletes in the context of the pandemic have made the staging of the event untenable.
The decision was taken jointly by the Local Organising Committee, the Municipality of Rieti, the Italian Athletics Federation and European Athletics.
"We are of course very disappointed not to be able to offer a championships for U18 athletes in 2021 but we want to thank the Rieti 2021 Local Organising Committee and the Italian Athletics Federation for their hard work in trying to put on this event in exceptionally challenging circumstances," said European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov.
Newly elected Italian Athletics Federation President Stefano Mei said: "I am very disappointed that our under 18 athletes won’t have the chance to compete at the European Athletics U18 Championships in Rieti at the end of August; a championships that FIDAL and the Local Organising Committee prepared with great enthusiasm and which we tried to stage up until the last moment."
Giuliano Casciani, President of the Local Organising Committee said: "During critical phases of history such as the one we are experiencing, the sense of community responsibility and that of individuals is also measured by the sacrifices one is able to make. It is for this reason reluctantly, but comforted by the fact of safeguarding public health, the Rieti 2020 Organising Committee has agreed by mutual consent with European Athletics, the Italian Athletics Federation and the Municipality of Rieti to cancel the European Athletics U18 Championships."
The next edition of the European Athletics U18 Championships are scheduled to take place in Jerusalem, Israel from 4-7 July 2022.