Gymnastics Australia position on participation to 2022 Acrobatic World Championships

Due to the ongoing nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the health and logistical risks still associated with many countries and the continuing lockdowns in major cities across Australia, Gymnastics Australia (GA) has made the difficult decision that it will not send a full Team to participate in the 2022 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championship event in Azerbaijan 11-13 March 2022

In making this decision, consideration was given to a range of factors including, but not limited to, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety and logistical challenges this presents:

• Gymnastics Australia’s duty of care towards its members.
• Australia’s borders are closed and international travel from Australia remains strictly controlled. There are currently no definitive timelines on when international borders will re-open.
• International travel from Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs with these exemptions only granted for essential business reasons.
• Only Australian citizens with legal residency in Azerbaijan are permitted to enter Azerbaijan. 
• COVID infections are increasing in Azerbaijan. The Australian Government advice is “Do not travel to Azerbaijan due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.”
• There is currently an Australian Government’s mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine on return, at individual cost. There is no definitive decision on when mandatory hotel quarantine will conclude.
• Flight options to Australia are extremely limited and are expensive. Flights and port of entry to Australia are subject to availability under increasingly reduced international arrival caps. Flight schedules/routes are changed and/or cancelled at very short notice. QANTAS for example will not be flying to Azerbaijan until at least April 2022.
• The Government’s roadmap outlines an easing of restrictions in Phase C (80% of the eligible population is vaccinated) which is highly dependent on individuals being fully vaccinated. 
• There remains a high risk of delay in return to Australia.
• The lack of opportunity for pairs and trios to train together in states currently in lockdown conditions. Even if athletes can resume training in 2021, there is a high probability that they will not be competition ready by WCH.
• There is no opportunity to conduct a nominated selection event prior to entries being due to the inability of athletes and coaches to travel throughout Australia due to border closures.
• Availability and lack of international travel insurance available (COVID-19 related matters are not covered).

GA acknowledges that competition is taking place overseas, including the rescheduled 2020 ACR World Championships in 2021 which was difficult for athletes and coaches to watch from Australia. Furthermore, GA acknowledges the continued improvements made with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Australia, however the safety and wellbeing of our athletes is paramount and the current unknowns regarding international travel and quarantine and the risk of the Team not being able to return to Australia, or being subject to excessive costs, is deemed too great in this current environment. 

Despite GA’s decision not to send a Team to the 2022 ACR World Championships, GA may consider requests from any pair/group who is prepared to accept all known (and unknown) risks and financial obligations but who also meet the performance criteria of the 2022 ACR World Championships selection policy. 

Any senior international pairs or groups that would like to be considered for selection, knowing, and understanding the risks, must complete the GA ‘Request for Consideration’ form by Friday 29th October and accept all responsibility and risks.; each member of a pair or group must complete a form.

GA has finalised a Selection Policy Part B (located on the GA Website) for the 2022 ACR World Championships which outlines the eligibility requirements for individual pairs/groups that submit a request for consideration.

Gymnastics Australia strongly encourages coaches, athletes, and parents to discuss the risks associated with attending this event. We acknowledge that the COVID situation within Australia and globally is rapidly evolving, however we wish to provide certainty to athletes, coaches, and parents in this challenging time.

Gymnastics Australia will not be sending a team, nor considering requests, for the 2022 ACR World Age Group Competition in Azerbaijan 2-8 March 2022.

Gymnastics Australia and the Acrobatics National Commission will be determining opportunities to select and send teams (both seniors and juniors) to international events in late 2022 and 2023, thereby providing athletes with the opportunity to represent their country in the lead up to the 2024 World Championships and World Age Group Competition.

For more information, please contact Amy Jones (GA Sport Development Manager) at 
[email protected]