Coronavirus: 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships postponed in China

Athletics Indoor Championships postponed.

The 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing have been postponed because of fears over the spread of the coronavirus in China.

The championships were to be held from 13-15 March but governing body World Athletics pushed them back 12 months.

World Athletics sought advice from the World Health Organisation and turned down offers to host from other cities.

The coronavirus has killed more than 130 people in China and has spread to 16 countries globally.

Around 6,000 people in all have been infected by the virus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.

The epicentre of the outbreak is the Chinese city of Wuhan, around 370 miles from Nanjing.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation warned the “whole world needs to be on alert”.

A World Athletics statement read: “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.

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 indoor season for athletics falls within a narrow calendar window (up to the end of March) and we believe we will be able to find a suitable date in 2021 to host this event. We would like Nanjing to be the host given the extensive planning and preparation they have put into this event.

We have chosen not to cancel the championships as many of our athletes would like this event to take place so we will now work with our athletes, our partners and the Nanjing organising committee to secure a date in 2021 to stage this event.

Source: BBC