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2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships postponed due to coronavirus fears

World Athletics released a statement about March’s Championships today.

A general view of athletes warming up at last year's Irish Indoors (file pic).
A general view of athletes warming up at last year's Irish Indoors (file pic).
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

WORLD ATHLETICS HAVE postponed March’s World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, due to coronavirus fears.

The organisers released a statement today, confirming that the 2020 Championships would be moved to March 2021.

China’s deadly virus epidemic has so far claimed more than 100 lives, and since the outbreak began in December, more than 50 million people have been locked down in and around the city of Wuhan in the Hubei region. 

It’s being reported today that a ‘small number’ of Irish people are being evacuated from Wuhan in China as a result of the coronavirus — which causes respiratory infections — outbreak.

The statement, in full, from World Athletics reads:

“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.”

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Emma Duffy

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