World Athletics champs in China postponed

The World Indoor Athletics Championships, scheduled to take place in Nanjing, China in March, have been postponed until 2021 over fears related to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the sport's global governing body said on Wednesday.

World Athletics had been monitoring the situation ahead of the March 13-15 event and has decided to move it to next year as a precaution.

In a statement, World Athletics said: "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 sport's governing body said it had considered relocating the event to another country but decided against that option because the spread of the virus outside China could have forced another postponement.

World Athletics added that it was working with the Nanjing organising committee to settle on a date to host the biennial event in 2021.

The Asian Athletics Association has cancelled its indoor championships, which were due to take place from February 12-13 in Hangzhou - 600km from Wuhan, where the virus originated at the end of last year.

So far, there are 6,065 cases of the virus worldwide, all but some 70 in China, with 132 deaths in the country, according to the latest WHO figures.