The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which were scheduled to take place in Nanjing, China, in March, have been postponed due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.
The event, slated for 13th - 15th March, will not be moved to a new city, but World Athletics has instead confirmed that it will postpone the event until 2021.
A World Athletics statement said: “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.”
The event, however, will not be moved to another city in another country and World Athletics has also confirmed that, given the time and planning put in by the Nanjing organisers, the governing body wishes to host the event in the same venue in 2021 instead.
“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,” said the World Athletics statement. “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.
“We would like Nanjing to be the host given the extensive planning and preparation they have put into this event.”
The outbreak of the virus has also seen the Audi FIS World Cup skiing event, which was due to take place in China, postponed. That event was also due to double up as the first Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022 test event. Meanwhile, the Chinese Football Association has postponed the start of its Super League season as China mobilises to contain the spread of the virus.