July 25, 2019:  Zach Clay of Canada during the Pan American Games Men's Artistic Gymnastics podium training at Polideportiva Villa el Salvador in Lima, Peru.   Daniel Lea/CSM

COVID costs Chilliwack gymnast Zach Clay last chance at qualifying for Olympics

Clay won’t be able to compete at the upcoming Senior Pan American Championships in Brazil

Chilliwack gymnast Zachary Clay will not have the chance to compete in the 2021 Senior Pan American Championships, and because of that he will not qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Citing health concerns around COVID-19, Gymnastics Canada has opted to not send teams to the international competition, which is being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil between June 4 and 13.

Clay was among those who appealed the decision through the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) arbitration process. Gymnastics Canada’s position was upheld in a verdict that was delivered May 6.

“In this pandemic environment, an additional layer of concern is required when travelling internationally to competitions,” said Ian Moss, CEO for Gymnastics Canada. “Gymnastics Canada has a very detailed risk assessment protocol that is followed for all international events and, for these competitions, it was felt that the risk to the health and safety of all travelling personnel was too high at this time to consider competing.”

The Senior Pan American Championships were Clay’s last chance qualifier event for the Tokyo Olympics. Canada had an opening for one more athlete in men’s artistic gymnastics.

“We realize the impact these decisions have on our athletes, especially those senior athletes that have dedicated so many years to their ambition of competing at the Olympic Games,” Moss said. “We will do everything we can not only to support all athletes and coaches impacted by this decision through this difficult period, but to also provide hope and opportunity moving forward towards their international goals in the future.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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