Olympic boxing qualifier in China scrapped over virus: report

The qualifiers would be moved from Wuhan, where the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus is believed to have begun.

Hospital staff wash the emergency entrance of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, on Wednesday.   -  AP

A boxing qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for next month in China’s Wuhan will be cancelled over the outbreak of a new virus, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said on Wednesday.

Citing organisers, Kyodo said the qualifiers would be rescheduled and moved from Wuhan, where the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus is believed to have begun. There was no independent confirmation from the organisers, and Japan’s boxing federation said it was waiting to hear from the International Olympic Committee on the reported cancellation.

Kyodo said the IOC was expected to announce a new host and schedule for the qualifiers.

Boxing has struggled in the run-up to the 2020 Games, and was almost excluded from the Olympic programme after a series of scandals. The amateur boxing body AIBA was stripped of the right to organise the Olympic competition and replaced with a special taskforce. Other measures have been introduced to rebuild trust in the sport, including a more transparent judging system.

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The reported cancellation comes as China said the new strain of coronavirus had killed nine people and infected at least 440 others in the country. Cases have also been reported outside China, in countries including the United States, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

The coronavirus has caused alarm for its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. Several countries have already stepped up monitoring measures for visitors coming from China, and the World Health Organisation will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday on whether to declare a rare global public health emergency over the virus.

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