The World Athletics Indoor Championship, the pinnacle of track and field’s winter season, has been pushed back one year, joining a long list of sports events that have been scrubbed, moved or postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China.
The indoor championship was scheduled for March 13-15 in Nanjing, China.
World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) considered relocating the event but said it was concerned by the spread of the virus outside China as well. Postponing the biennial event to 2021 also gives Nanjing the opportunity to put its preparation to use.
“The advice from our medical team, who are in contact with the World Health Organisation, is that the spread of the Coronavirus both within China and outside the country is still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed,” a World Athletics statement said.
Other organizations agree, moving or postponing their own major gatherings, some of them at 2022 Olympic venues and some affecting qualification for the 2020 Games.
Winter X Games: China has hosted the X Games in the summer, but the Feb. 21-23 competition at the Olympic venue of Genting Resort Secret Garden in Chongli was due to be the first Winter X Games in the country. The event is in limbo after organizers announced its postponement earlier this week.
Alpine skiing World Cup: Another event that would have taken place at an Olympic venue and would have been the first of its kind in China was scrubbed on Wednesday. The course in Yanqing, China, was due to host a men’s downhill and super-G Feb. 15-16. The FIS hopes to bring the men’s World Cup circuit to Yanqing next season, along with women’s races that are already on the schedule.
Olympic boxing qualifiers: Originally set for Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus crisis, the Asia-Oceania boxing qualifiers will be held March 3-11 in Amman, Jordan.
Olympic women’s soccer qualifiers: The women’s soccer qualification tournament also was originally set to start Feb. 3 in Wuhan. The event was originally moved to Nanjing but then moved to Sydney, Australia, a move just announced on Sunday. Organizers confirmed Wednesday that the tournament would remain on its original start date of Feb. 3, but China’s team is under quarantine in Australia.
Olympic basketball qualifiers: The women’s basketball tournament set for Feb. 6-9 in Foshan has been moved to Belgrade. China, Britain, South Korea and Spain are competing.
Diving World Series: A meet scheduled for March 6-8 in Beijing has been canceled.
Tour of Hainan: The cycling tour around the Chinese island, scheduled to run Feb. 23-March 1, has been canceled.
Fed Cup: An Asia/Oceania event in the global women’s tennis tournament has been moved from Dongguan to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. It will take place on its original dates, Feb. 4-8.
Supercup: The Chinese soccer club season opener between Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai Shenhua, scheduled for Feb. 5 in Suzhou, has been postponed.
The schedule changes are reminiscent of the SARS outbreak of 2003, when the Women’s World Cup was abruptly moved to the United States, the world track cycling championships were moved to Germany, and the women’s ice hockey world championships were canceled.
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