The World Indoor Athletics Postpones Championships Due to Coronavirus Fears

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica competes with Hanna-Maari Latvala (L) of Finland and Yee Pui Fong of Hong Kong in the Women's 60m heats during day two of the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Ergo Arena on March 8, 2014 in Sopot, Poland. (March 7, 2014 - Source: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images Europe)

TOKYO, Japan – The 2020 IAAF World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing have been postponed because of fears over the spread of the coronavirus in China and Japan.

The championships that were scheduled for March this year, have been postponed to next year, March 2021. The World Athletics made the announcement in a press statement recently:

“It is with regret that we have agreed with the organisers of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing (13-15 March 2020) to postpone the event to March 2021.

We know that China is doing all it can to contain the new Coronavirus and we support them in all their efforts but it is necessary to provide our athletes, Member Federations and partners with a clear way forward in what is a complex and fast-moving set of circumstances.

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.

We have considered the possibility of relocating the event to another country and would like to thank the cities that have volunteered to host the championships. However, given concerns still exist regarding the spread of the virus outside China, we have decided not to go with this option, as it may lead to further postponement at a later date.”

The rapid spread of the coronavirus have put fear in the minds of many athletes and spectators looking forward to this year’s biggest sporting event, including the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo this summer.

But the Tokyo Olympics organizers say that the Olympics will go ahead as planned, with special measures put in place to protect those that will attend. “We will work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other concerned bodies to draw any countermeasures whenever necessary,” they said.

The IOC said it had been in contact with the World Health Organization  about the coronavirus, which has spread to more than 20 countries (including 20 confirmed cases in Japan), prompting travel restrictions and the suspension of China services by several airlines.

“Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games,” the IOC said in a statement. “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures.”

The Tokyo Olympics begin on July 24 with the Paralympics starting on Aug. 25.

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