Bathhurst in Australia has sought a postponement of its hosting of next year's World Athletics Cross Country Championships ©Getty Images

Bathurst, in Australia, host of next year’s World Athletics Cross Country Championships, has requested a postponement from the current scheduled date of March 20 because of travel restrictions currently in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Athletics Council, which will conclude its two-day virtual meeting today, heard that discussions are already underway with the event organisers to "explore alternative dates" following the recent closure of Australia’s international borders.

In a release, World Athletics said: "The Board of the Local Organising Committee, World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021, the Athletics Australia board and the New South Wales Government have reinforced their strong desire to host this World Championship and have asked World Athletics to postpone the event to a future date to be determined.

"World Athletics will work closely with all stakeholders in Australia to explore the feasibility of other dates."

Meanwhile the sport’s international governing body has announced a number of other calendar adjustments, with the Council having approved new dates for the World U20 Championships in Nairobi and the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk, both due to have taken place this year but postponed because of coronavirus.

The World U20 Championships is now due to be held in Nairobi from August 17 to 22 next year, one week after the Olympic Games are scheduled to finish in Tokyo. 

Under the competition’s rules, athletes aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on December 31, 2021 will be eligible to compete.

The World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships have been rescheduled for April 23 to 24, 2022 in Minsk in Belarus.

The 2022 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Yangzhou have also moved back one week, from March 20 to March 27.

New "protected windows" for National Championships from 2021 to 2024 have been confirmed by the World Athletics Global Calendar Unit, as revealed exclusively yesterday by insidethegames.

"These protected windows mean that the National Federations in Europe, North America and Caribbean and Northern Africa, can plan their National Championships on these weekends free in the knowledge that there will be no clashes with Wanda Diamond League, or Continental Tour Gold, Silver or Bronze international meetings," the World Athletics release added.

"The Global Calendar Unit is working on similar suitable arrangements with Asia, South America, Southern Africa and Oceania to ensure the optimisation of the calendar in those Continental Areas."

In 2021, the dates are due to be June 5 and 6 and June 26 and 27; in 2022, June 25 and 26; in 2023, July 8 and 9 and July 29 and 30; and in 2024, June 8 and 9 and June 29 and 30.

"The disruption caused by the global pandemic has made it more difficult to schedule international events over the next two years but we want to give as much certainty as we can to our athletes, Member Federations, host cities and partners," World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said. 

"We have done our best to choose dates that we believe are achievable and offer the best chance for our athletes and event hosts to shine on the international stage."