Olympic qualifying event moved from China to Spain over coronavirus

Medical workers in protective suits lift an isolated patient from an ambulance as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Chengdu

(Reuters) - A mixed relay Olympic triathlon qualification event scheduled to be held in the Chinese city of Chengdu in May has been moved to Valencia in Spain due to the coronavirus outbreak, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) said on Wednesday.

The mixed relay qualification was to be held in Chengdu on May 9 followed by a World Cup at the same venue on May 10, with both taking place in the Olympic qualification period.

The mixed relay event will now be held in Valencia on May 1 and is the last opportunity for three National Olympic Committees to secure berths for two women and two men for the Tokyo Olympics, ITU said in a statement.

The 2020 Chengdu World Cup will be postponed until later in the season and will not be replaced with another World Cup within the Olympic qualification period, it added.

Three Asian Cup events, one in Taiwan and two in China, scheduled for March and April have also been postponed.

A number of international sporting events have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The flu-like virus has already infected about 80,000 and killed more than 2,700 people, the vast majority in China, and fears that the it could become a global pandemic have stoked concerns about the staging of the Tokyo Olympics this year.


(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris)