China’s first World Cup races canceled amid coronavirus concern
Alpine skiing joined a long list of sports juggling schedules in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak as the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced Wednesday that the first World Cup Alpine races set for China would be canceled.
The course in Yanqing, China, will be the Olympic course in the 2022 Winter Games. A men’s downhill and super-G had been scheduled for Feb. 15-16.
The situation in China, where the coronavirus death toll is now well over 100 and the number of confirmed cases is more than 6,000, has changed rapidly. Last weekend, FIS general secretary Sarah Lewis described the possibility of canceling the event as “low risk.”
Yanqing hosted its first competition, the Chinese National Winter Games, Jan. 16-20.
“Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, we have been paying close attention to its impact on the 2019/2020 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Yanqing and have taken active precautionary measures under the guidelines of local health and disease control authorities,” Yanging organizers said. “At present, the outbreak has not ended and Beijing municipal government is taking proactive measures to contain the spread of the virus. We take the health of athletes, coaches, journalists, fans, and staff seriously. FIS, the Chinese Ski Association, and the Yanqing Organising Committee have therefore come to the decision to cancel the event.”
Women’s races are scheduled for Yanqing next season, and the FIS said it would work to schedule men’s races on the Olympic slope as well.
The FIS said it would announce at a later date a possible “rescheduling” of the Feb. 15-16 races, but with no free weekends on the World Cup schedule, those races would almost certainly be set for another venue on the same weekend rather than a later date in China.
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