Corona virus forces ITF to move Fed Cup from China

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After Olympic qualifying boxing competition, the coronavirus has also compelled the International Tennis Federation to move Fed Cup out of China.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Sunday shifted the Fed Cup games from virus-hit China to Kazakhastan.

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“The ITF has said matches have been shifted to Kazakhstan,”” All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee told news agency IANS.

The Asia/Oceania Group I event was scheduled in the Chinese city of Dongguan from February 4 to 8. Instead, it will now be played in Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan on the same dates.

Meanwhile, the Indian team will, in all likelihood, travel to Kazakhstan without Sania Mirza who was compelled to retire mid-way into her women’s doubles first round at the Australian Open due to a calf injury. “We have written to her. Let’s see,” Chatterjee said.

This Fed Cup is Sania’s ticket to the Tokyo Olympics and a no show might complicate matters. However, the ITF might consider she was on a maternity break for two years and only returned to play Hobart International with partner Nadiia Kichenok which she won.

Sania had returned to the Indian Fed Cup team after four years.

Meanwhile, the women’s Olympic football qualifiers have also been shifted out of China due to the same reason. The football tournament had already been moved from Wuhan to Nanjing in Jiangsu province, but will now be held in Sydney, the Asian Football Confederation said.

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“The safety of all players, officials and fans is of paramount importance to Football Federation Australia and the Asian Football Confederation, and we are confident we will host a successful tournament here in Sydney,” Australian football chief Chris Nikou said in a statement.

China’s Xinhua news agency said the Chinese Football Association took the decision to offload the Olympic qualifiers, which involve China, Australia, Taiwan, and Thailand, after cases of the virus came to light in Jiangsu.

The coronavirus outbreak has claimed 56 lives so far, a media report said. Football, boxing, and basketball are among the other sports to be affected.

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