European Short Track Championships: Britain withdraw amid Covid-19 disruption

Christie took a break from social media earlier this year to help with her mental health
Elise Christie will be hoping to compete at the World Championships in February

Britain has withdrawn from the European Short Track Championships in Poland over concerns the squad could have been "stuck" at the event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A team of eight, including 10-time European champion Elise Christie, was due to travel to Gdansk on 17 January.

British Ice Skating said it was difficult to find "viable ways" for the team to travel to and from the event.

The competition runs from 22-24 January.

"Due to the ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions in place across Europe there was the very real possibility that the squad could have become stuck in Poland with very few options open for return to the UK," said British Ice Skating.

"The number one priority of the national governing body is athlete safety, and it was with this in mind that the decision was made."

Christie said the decision was made with a "heavy heart".

"We are devastated as everyone has been working so hard and the team has made massive improvements," she said. "However, our health and safety must be our number one priority."

There has not been any international racing this season, with all World Cup races cancelled.

However, as well as the European Championships, the World Championships are set to go ahead in March in Dordrecht in the Netherlands.

Christie said: "There was also a significant risk that our preparations for the World Championships would have been severely impacted by the potential travel disruption."

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