Chinese figure skating national championships postponed due to COVID-19

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The Chinese Figure Skating Association indefinitely postponed its national championships that were scheduled for next week, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Nationals were slated for Chengde, about 140 miles northeast of Beijing, which hosts the Winter Olympics in February.

The Beijing Winter Games will be held with coronavirus countermeasures, including daily testing and a closed-loop transportation system for Olympics-related venues. Fully vaccinated participants can enter China without facing a 21-day quarantine.

The IOC, IPC and local organizers, collaborating with global scientific experts, developed playbooks for athletes, officials and media that detail all of the countermeasures. The playbooks will be updated as the Feb. 4 Opening Ceremony nears.

Two major international figure skating events due to be held in China were previously canceled — an annual Grand Prix Series stop earlier this month, plus the Four Continents Championships in January 2022.

A lower-level competition, the Asian Open Trophy, was held as scheduled in Beijing in October. That doubled as an Olympic test event with skaters from other Asian and European nations.

China hosted international competitions in other Winter Olympic sports this fall, most recently World Cups for ski cross and snowboard cross last weekend.

Countries usually use national figure skating championships as part of the Olympic athlete selection process, but sometimes stars miss nationals and are still named to teams.

China’s medal-contending figure skaters, 2018 Olympic pairs silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, were going to miss nationals to compete in a major international competition, next week’s Grand Prix Final in Osaka, Japan.

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