Poland will start the defence of their European Athletics Team Championships Super League title in Silesia tomorrow against a field lacking Ukraine following positive COVID-19 tests ©Getty Images

Poland will defend its European Athletics Team Championships Super League title in Silesia this weekend against a field reduced to seven by the withdrawal of Ukraine following positive COVID-19 tests.

The Ukraine Athletic Federation confirmed its Executive Committee had followed team doctors’ advice after two members of its team had tested positive at a training camp in Lutsk for athletes preparing to travel to Poland.

This will be the second successive European Athletics event from which Ukraine have been precluded because of COVID-19 positives.

The team had to fly back without competing at the European Throwing Cup in Split earlier this month after one of their coaches tested positive on arrival, even though all had tested negative before departure.

Romania’s team also had to depart halfway through the event after one of its athletes tested positive in Split.

Having won its first title in this event two years ago at Bydgoszcz, Poland has been given a unique opportunity of defending it on home soil in the event that will run tomorrow and on May 30.

The number of teams in this event had been reduced from 2021 onwards from 12 to eight, and Poland’s opposition in Silesia will be France, Germany, Great Britain & NI, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Amid eased COVID-19 restrictions, a maximum of 7600 spectators will be welcomed back into the Silesian Stadium, which hosted the World Athletics Relays from May 1 to 2 behind closed doors.

The Poles won by 27.5 points ahead of reigning champions Germany and France two years ago, winning 10 of the 40 events.

The home team is missing key names including 100 metres runner Ewa Swoboda, javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk, who set a Polish record of 71.40 metres at the European Throwing Cup, three-times European 800m champion Adam Kszczot, world 1500m bronze medallist Marcin Lewandowski and world pole vault bronze medallist Piotr Lisek.

But the Poles remain in contention to become the second nation after Russia in 2013 to successfully defend the title.

Germany, seeking a fourth title, will field Johannes Vetter, the in-form javelin thrower who recorded 97.76m - putting him second on the all-time list behind world record holder Jan Zelezny - in the same stadium last September.

Meanwhile Damian Warner is seeking to become the first six-time winner of the traditional two-day World Athletics Challenge - Combined Events meeting that starts in Götzis, Austria tomorrow.

The 31-year-old Canadian, who won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the Doha 2019 World Championships, has already equalled the record of five wins jointly established by former world and Olympic champions Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic and Sweden’s Carolina Kluft.

But Warner will have his work cut out given the presence in this year’s decathlon field of Germany’s 23-year-old world champion Niklas Kaul and world silver medallist Maicel Uibo of Estonia.

Erica Bougard and Kendell Williams of the United States are among the leading names in the heptathlon field as they too return to multi-events action for the first time since their respective fourth and fifth-place finishes at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Meanwhile the European champion of 2016, Anouk Vetter of The Netherlands, is "back in the game" after recovering from injuries.