The Asian 20km Race Walk Championships in Japan scheduled for March 15, where 13 Indians were to take part, has been cancelled due to the novel Coronavirus epidemic.
Tokyo Olympics-bound Bhawana Jat was to lead the Indian challenge in the event earlier scheduled to be held in Nomi city.
The Asian Athletics Association (AAA) took the decision to cancel the championship after a request from the Japan federation. “After due consideration and approval from the AAA Council, I confirm that Asian 20km Race Walking Championships has been cancelled,” AAA President Dahlan Al Hamad said in a statement.
“In view of the COVID-19, the Government of Japan has proposed for higher alert. All major events in the country has been cancelled or delayed. Japan Association of Athletics Federation has requested to cancel the Championships,” he added.
This is the third major athletics event to be cancelled or postponed after the dreaded coronavirus outbreak in China. The World Athletics Indoor Championships scheduled to be held in Nanjing, China, from March 13 to 15 was postponed to March next year. The Asian Indoor Athletics Championships, which was to be held in Hangzhou, China, from February 12-13, was also cancelled.
The deadly coronavirus has so far claimed more than 3,000 lives and infected 86,000 people worldwide.
In Japan, nearly 1,000 cases of infection have been reported, including 705 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. There have been 11 deaths so far.