Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Coronavirus: Diamond League suspends early-season events

Jamaica's Danielle Williams, left, wins the women's 100m hurdles during the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme athletics event at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco).

Jamaica's Danielle Williams, left, wins the women's 100m hurdles during the Diamond League Memorial Van Damme athletics event at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco).

World Athletics has suspended the first three meetings of the 2020 Wanda Diamond League season due to the growing number of countries affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Those meets were scheduled for April 17 in Qatar and May 9 and 16 in China. World Athletics said the decision was made in close consultation with organising committees, local authorities and sports governing bodies.

It is forbidden to enter Qatar from a number of countries and the government in Doha has suspended all national and international events for a period of 30 days.

While the number of new infections is now decreasing in China, World Athletics said the fact remains that preparations for the meetings have been set back by several weeks and the closed borders and travel restrictions make it impossible to organise international top-level competitions.

The current plan is to stage the Shanghai event on August 13.

World Athletics said that new dates for Doha and the second meeting in China remain to be announced. The world track and field governing body pointed out that Doha and China meetings could be held after the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich from September 9-11, where the Diamond League Champions will be crowned, should the global situation allow.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The worldwide outbreak has sickened more than 175,000 people and left more than 6,700 people dead.

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