The 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships scheduled for Nanjing, China has been postponed amid increasing worry over the deadly Coronavirus in the Asian country.
The event which was scheduled for March 13-15 this year, has now been set for 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,” said a spokesperson for World Athletics.
World Athletics said too that its medical team, which is in contact with the World Health Organisation, advised 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 spokesperson said.
The indoor season for athletics falls within a narrow calendar window up to the end of March.
World Athletics said it would like Nanjing to be the host given the extensive planning and preparation already 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,” the spokesperson said.