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USA Track and Field to skip World Youth Champs, cites security concerns

IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 - Day 3

CALI, COLOMBIA - JULY 17: A general view during round one of the Boys 2000 Meters Steeplechase on day three of the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 on July 17, 2015 at the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium in Cali, Colombia. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images for IAAF)

Getty Images for IAAF

USA Track and Field will not send athletes to the World Youth Championships for athletes under 18 years old in Kenya in July, citing reasons including security concerns in a letter published by Flotrack.

“The U.S. Department of State gives Kenya a crime and terrorism rating of Critical,’ the highest level possible,” the letter read. “The State Department’s security summary includes risks for all types of crime, from theft to violent crime and terrorism. Given the ‘Critical’ threat, the high cost associated with our team’s increased security needs, and that the team would be composed of children, USATF will not select or travel a team to this event.

“The IAAF last August announced that the 2017 World Youth Championships will be the final edition of this meet, with President Sebastian Coe stating that the meet ‘is not the best pathway for young athletes.’ USATF is a strong supporter of ensuring the growth of track & field internationally, particularly among young people. We will continue to work with our IAAF colleagues to ensure appropriate and productive competitive opportunities for youth in the future.”

Great Britain said in December that it would not send athletes, either, citing it being the last year of the event and a focus on the Youth Commonwealth Games that take place one week after the Youth World Championships.

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