France Cancels Junior Nationals On Extraordinary Day In Swim History Ahead of Crunch Decision On Olympic Trials

Florent Manaudou at the European Championships in Glasgow - Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK

After the cancellation of the French Junior Championships today, national swimming federation bosses will meet tomorrow morning to decide which regional events to postpone or cancel as part of containment measures in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The French Championships and Olympic Trials at which the likes of 2012 Olympic 50m free champion and 2016 Olympic silver medallist Florent Manaudou (pictured) would seek to stamp a ticket to Tokyo 2020, are safe for now, the French federation (FFN) announced to its membership, though a note will be sent to all clubs “within the next eight days” with further information, including “measures envisaged to mitigate the consequences of any cancellation, and … [information on] new provisions for qualifying for the European Championships.”

The Junior nationals are gone, however. They were to have been staged at in Schiltigheim (Bas-Rhin) from March 26 to 31, with more than 1,000 athletes lining up. On a day when President Emmanuel Macron announced the nationwide closure of all schools and universities in France from Monday and urged people over the age of 70 and with health conditions have to stay home to stave off the virus, which has killed 48 people as of Thursday evening. the Ministry of Sports, the Bas-Rhin prefecture, the Grand Est League and the Bas-Rhin Departmental Committee issued a mandate: no gatherings of 1,000 people or more.

The FFN attempted to change qualification procedures to reduce numbers but the unfairness in that process caused decision-makers to reject the idea, while the high number of cases in the region where the championships would have taken place contributed to a vote to cancel.

In a statement to its membership, the FFN said:

“We are deeply sorry that the daily investment of all the players in this event cannot now be matched by reality.”

The federation is pondering how it might incorporate the best of the juniors in its senior championships, in the way that Britain does. However, there are no certainties that the Olympic trials event will be saved from the lockdown measures now being rolled out.

The French cancellation was one of many this day, the NCAA Championships, a 30-day suspension of events by USA Swimming, the cancellation of the Danish Open and Olympic Trials, the Swim Open, Stockholm, a Norwegian lockdown that cancelled sport, FINA postponements and cancellations and a plea from Italy to halt the Olympic Games to avoid Tokyo 2020 going ahead in July when many of the world’s best swimmers may no longer be in the kind of shape they would have been but for the pandemic and its knock-on effects.

An Extraordinary Day In Swimming History:

And that followed this:

Guidance on Water and Coronavirus 

Share and Tweet This Story

3 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial