With the Olympics fast approaching, so too are the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Trials, where athletes from across the country will compete to earn a spot on the team headed for Tokyo. The trials are scheduled to take place in Montreal from June 24 to 27, and Athletics Canada has been working with the Fédération Québecoise d’Athlétisme over the last several months to create a framework under which the trials can operate safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A general format for the event has now been approved by the Athletics Canada Board of Directors to ensure the safety of all the athletes and officials.
Under the new format, entries to the event site will be by invitation only, and there will be a limited number of competitors per event as well as a limited number of coaches, staff and volunteers who have access to the event site. There will also be no U20 competitions and no spectators.
The guidelines also outline some new selection criteria for the Games, and specify that competing at the trials will no longer be a requirement for Olympic or Paralympic nomination. Athletes who win in the able-bodied events will still be automatically nominated to the Olympic team, but winners in the Paralympic events will be assessed by their relative performances. Exactly how this will play out is unclear, and officials have said the details of the Paralympic selection process are yet to be determined.
Finally, officials have stated that the competition program will be announced on May 14, and athletes will begin receiving their invitations on May 17. The Olympic nomination meeting will take place on July 2, and the Paralympic nomination meeting will be held on July 21.
Currently, none of these plans are concrete, and Athletics Canada will continue to update and change the format of the trials according to the evolving public health recommendations over the coming months.