World Masters Athletics (WMA) President Stan Perkins of Australia issued the following statement with just days to go before the start of the 2017 Championships to be held in South Korea:
“I have just received a formal notification from the Chinese Athletics Federation that the team who were to attend the WMA Indoors Championships to be held in Daegu have taken the decision to withdraw from the championships. This notification came in response to my inquiry as to whether reports that had been circulating advising a boycott was to be imposed was true or not. The notification specifically states that the decision was taken after ‘most athletes and their families expressed concerns and worries about their participation in the championships.’ Put bluntly, there is nothing that can be done to change this situation.”
Tensions that have seemingly existed for some time about military based activities with South Korea would be the most likely catalyst for this decision and as the notification is from the China Athletic Association, the entity that all Chinese Masters Athletes are registered with, and it appears there is no opportunity to change the decision.
China is scheduled to host the Asian Regional Masters Track and Field Championships in September this year at Rugao City. The Regional Council will now need to re-assess that decision in the light of the withdrawal of the Chinese team from the Daegu Indoor Championships.
This is a very difficult and delicate situation that now faces the Region, and impacts indirectly upon WMA as a body. The decision has been referred to the IAAF for their consideration.