World Athletics Indoor Championships moved to 2021 due to coronavirus

White House considers ban on China flights amid coronavirus outbreak


A major international sporting event has been postponed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field, announced Wednesday that it is postponing the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, to 2021 — the most significant sporting event to be affected by the virus to date. 

The championships had previously been scheduled for mid-March.

“We know that China is doing all it can to contain the new coronavirus and we support them in all their efforts,” World Athletics said in a news release. “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 Organization, 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.”

Coronavirus has sickened more than 6,000 people and killed at least 132 in China so far. There is no known vaccine for the virus, which is believed to have spread to humans in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships is a biennial event and among the most important dates in the sport, perhaps second only to the Olympic Games. It is the latest in a string of sporting events that have been affected by coronavirus, from World Cup skiing races to boxing tournaments and Olympic qualifying events. 

The Chinese Basketball Association also recently announced that it has indefinitely suspended play in the wake of the virus.


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