The Indoor Athletics World Championships, scheduled for March 2020 in Nanjing, China, have been postponed by one year, to March 2021, announced on Wednesday World Athletics, the former IAAF.
The spread of the new coronavirus, which has appeared in China and has already caused 132 deaths, is the cause of this postponement. World Athletics (Wa) hopes that these Worlds can be held next year, again in Nanjing. World Athletics preferred not to attribute the event to another country to allow time for China to organize it a year later.
“Our medical team, which is in contact with the World Health Organization, tells us that the expansion of coronavirus both in China and outside the country is always important, and that it is not better to organize a major event if it can be Pushed” wrote World Athletics in a statement.
“We have studied the possibility of moving the competition to another country (…) but given the concern about the spread of the virus outside of China we have decided to abandon this option.“
The World Indoor Championships, which several major athletes had decided not to compete, were to be the first major event of the year in athletics, just four months before the Tokyo Olympics (July 24 -August 9).
The ties between world athletics and China have greatly strengthened in recent months: the powerful conglomerate Wanda became in October and for ten years the main sponsor of the Diamond League, the major meeting circuit, which takes the group’s name. In addition to the traditional Shanghai meeting, another competition held in China (place to be confirmed) has been added to the annual Diamond League calendar.
“This is of course unfortunate for the athletes who had passed the minimas and who had made these indoor championships a goal“, reacted the new technical director of the French Athletics League (LBFA), Frédéric Kimmlingen. “But it is a common sense decision. We are facing a public health problem. World Athletics has taken responsibility. She had warned us by email that a cancellation was possible. It was better to make that decision at the end of January than in a month’s time. Athletes will still be able to bounce back and plan a new preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which remain the big goal of 2020. The fact remains that the postponement of these championships by one year raises questions. In principle, odd years are devoted to the Euro indoors. Will there be two indoor championships next year: a Euro and World championships?”