Youth who have technically aged out of the next Arctic Winter Games will be allowed to participate, the international committee announced on Aug. 31.
The next Games were supposed to be held in Wood Buffalo, Alberta in 2022, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic were postponed in winter 2021.
Those athletes who were eligible to participate in the 2022 Games but are now a year older, putting them above the eligibility age, can still compete in their respective sports.
“The International Committee engaged in an extensive consultative process with our valued Chefs de Mission from participating units,” said John Flynn, AWGIC president. “We considered both the Chefs and their sport organizations’ critical feedback and we analyzed the potential effects that changing the sport age categories could have.
“We came to the conclusion to maintain the 2022 technical packages’ years of birth was the fairest situation for the youth participants.”
The AWGIC reviews its technical packages every two years. However, the postponement of the 2022 Games cause a “unique circumstance with age categories,” said a press release.
Adjusting the age categories to meet the rescheduled year of the Games would have caused some youth to age out of the without the opportunity to participate.
The decision to maintain the years of birth supports “inclusivity of participants who were training to attend the 2022 Games,” said the press release.
The Wood Buffalo Games, originally slated for March 2022, were pushed to Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023.
The postponement of the Games was to ensure the health and safety of all the participants and the host community.
Held every two years, the Arctic Winter Games hosts up to 2,000 participants and an equal number of volunteers.
The 2024 Games will be held in Alaska.
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