May 4, 2020 / 7:34 AM / in a month

FINA postpones 2021 Fukuoka world championships to May 2022

TOKYO (Reuters) - Swimming’s world governing body FINA rescheduled the 2021 Fukuoka aquatics world championships to May 2022 on Monday to avoid a clash with the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

FILE PHOTO: Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe of Britain in action during the 18th FINA World Swimming Championships Women's Duet Free Preliminary at Yeomju Gymnasium in Gwangju, South Korea July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

The new dates for the swimming event in the Japanese city are May 13-29, 2022.

“After liaising with the relevant stakeholders and receiving feedback from them, we have no doubt that the decision taken will provide the best possible conditions for all participants at the championships,” said FINA president Julio Maglione.

“At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, FINA hopes the announcement of these dates will allow for some clarity in planning for all concerned.”

Lausanne-based FINA had to move the championships because the 2021 slot of July 16 to Aug. 1 clashed with the new date for the Tokyo Games, which were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The switch after consultation with broadcasters, athletes and national federations follows similar moves by athletics and soccer for the world championships in Oregon and women’s European soccer championship respectively.

Soichiro Takashima, the mayor of Fukuoka, said there would be no reduction in the competition schedule.

“Of course, due to lingering COVID-19 fears here in Fukuoka City, we still cannot let our guard down,” added the mayor.

“However, we will continue to exert our utmost efforts to eliminate COVID-19 as early as possible to meet the expectations of the many athletes and sports fans longing for the opening of our championships, and to make the event a great success.”

The swimming body said its World Masters Championships will also take place across the island of Kyushu from May 31-June 9, 2022.

Swimming’s new date also avoids any overlap with the 2022 Commonwealth Games, due to be held in the British city of Birmingham from July 27 to Aug. 7.

There had been fears that a clash would deny British fans the chance to see current Olympic and world breaststroke champion Adam Peaty going for gold at home.

Additional reporting by Jack Tarrant in Tokyo, writing by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Toby Chopra

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