January 29, 2020 / 7:31 PM / in 6 months

World indoor champs in China postponed over coronavirus fears

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The World Athletics Indoor Championships scheduled to take place in Nanjing, China in March have been postponed until 2021 over fears related to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the sport’s global governing body said on Wednesday.

World Athletics had been monitoring the situation ahead of the March 13-15 event and decided to move it to next year as a precaution.

It said its medical team, which is contact with the World Health Organization (WHO), thought the spread of the virus was “still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed”.

World Athletics said it had considered relocating the event to another country but decided against that option because the spread of the virus outside China could have forced another postponement.

World Athletics added that it was working with the Nanjing organising committee to settle on a date to host the biennial event in 2021.

The Asian Athletics Association has cancelled its indoor championships, which were due to take place from Feb. 12-13 in Hangzhou — 600 kilometres from Wuhan, where the virus originated at the end of last year.

There are 6,065 cases of the virus worldwide, all but some 70 in China, with 132 deaths in the country, according to the latest WHO figures.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, editing by Ed Osmond

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