The upcoming 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing has been rescheduled to 2021 due to the spread of coronavirus in China, which has already killed more than 130 people.

The competition was scheduled for March 13-15, but has been postponed to March 2021, following the World Health Organisation’s warning on Wednesday that the “whole world needs to be on alert”.

The deadly virus has forced the lockdown of more than 50 million people around the city of Wuhan.

World Athletics said in a statement: “The advice from our medical team, who are in contact with the World Health Organisation, is that the spread of the coronavirus both within China and outside the country is still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed.

“We have considered the possibility of relocating the event to another country and would like to thank the cities that have volunteered to host the championships.

“However, given concerns still exist regarding the spread of the virus outside China, we have decided not to go with this option, as it may lead to further postponement at a later date.

“We have chosen not to cancel the championships as many of our athletes would like this event to take place so we will now work with our athletes, our partners and the Nanjing organising committee to secure a date in 2021 to stage this event.”

Meanwhile, the World Athletics Indoor Tour went ahead as scheduled last weekend in Boston, with the final meeting on the World Athletics Indoor Tour to be held in Madrid, Spain on February 21.

According to World Athletics, many sport’s leading stars have confirmed their attendance on the World Athletics Indoor Tour and almost all of the remaining meetings have sold out.

Image: Mardetanha