Asian Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers: Bishkek withdraws as host amid coronavirus fears

The event was originally scheduled to be held in Xian from March 27-29 but was moved out of the Chinese city amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Chinese city of Xi’an was slated to play host to the tournament earlier but it was moved to Bishkek due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. (Representative Image)

The Chinese city of Xi’an was slated to play host to the tournament earlier but it was moved to Bishkek due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. (Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek has pulled out as host for next month’s Asian Olympic wrestling qualifying event as part of preventive measures against the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The March 27-29 event was originally scheduled to be held in Xian but was moved out of the Chinese city amid the outbreak of the virus that has killed close to 3000 people and infected nearly 80,000 globally.

The Kyrgyzstan government has postponed all sporting events in the country till further notice in the wake of the epidemic.

The sport’s world governing body United World Wrestling (UWW) has communicated to all Asian federations that Bishkek is no more hosting the tournament.

READ | Olympics: Asian wrestling qualifiers postponed over coronavirus threat

“Today (February 28), UWW has received the information that the Kyrgyz government has decided to take measures against the spread of the COVID-19, and such measure unfortunately include the cancellation of the Asian Olympic OG Qualifier that had been previously reallocated to the city of Bishkek,” the UWW said.

“UWW is now considering other solutions and discussions with the International Olympic Committee will be continued next week,” the world body stated.

A 14-member Indian squad, including youngsters Jitender Kumar and Sonam Malik, will compete in the tournament.

Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) have already qualified for the Tokyo Games with their medal-winning performance at the 2019 World Championships.

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