World Athletics to move race walking event from Belarus

Belarus in May scrambled a warplane to escort down a Ryanair passenger jet carrying a journalist critical of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, leading to a diplomatic standoff.

World Race Walking Team Championships relocated, expects to announce a new venue by late July.(Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

The World Race Walking Team Championships that were scheduled to be held in Belarus next April will be relocated due to a diplomatic standoff and the COVID-19 crisis there, the World Athletics Council said on Tuesday.

The council said "uncertainties around diplomatic relations and international travel restrictions with regard to Belarus" could impact the staging of the event, adding that it expects to announce a new venue by late July.

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Earlier this year, Belarus was stripped of the right to co-host the ice hockey world championship amid safety concerns over political unrest and the pandemic, with sponsors threatening to pull out if it was held in Minsk.

Belarus in May scrambled a warplane to escort down a Ryanair passenger jet carrying a journalist critical of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, leading to a diplomatic standoff.

The European cycling track championships due to be held in Belarus have been cancelled.

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