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Athletics-Canada withdraws team from world half-marathon championships

Oct 14 (Reuters) - Canada has pulled its team out of the world half-marathon championships in Poland this weekend over COVID-19 health and safety concerns, Athletics Canada said on Wednesday.

A five-member team was due to take part at the event in Gdynia, but with Poland seeing a second spike in COVID-19 cases Athletics Canada decided it could not put “our athletes, coaches and staff in harm’s way”.

“When we considered the risks associated with flying and transfers within airports, with the athletes being in publicly-accessed common areas like hotel lobbies and common dining areas, and the unknown of individuals’ compliance to safe protocols, we felt it was prudent not to expose our team to those risks,” Dr. Paddy McCluskey, Athletics Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a statement.

The event had originally been scheduled for March 29 but was rescheduled to Oct. 17.

Poland reported a new daily record of 6,526 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The country of 38 million has recorded 141,804 confirmed coronavirus cases so far and 3,217 deaths, with the biggest cities of Warsaw and Krakow seeing fast increases. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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