Coronavirus: World Athletics postpone half-marathon champs until October

PARIS (AFP) - The World Athletics half-marathon championships in the Polish city of Gdynia was on Thursday (March 5) postponed until Oct 17 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"The current international situation would have seriously compromised the event at this time as many countries are now restricting international travel, invoking quarantines and advising citizens and event organisers to avoid mass gatherings," track and field's governing body World Athletics (WA) 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 is at a concerning level in many countries and all major gatherings should be reviewed."

The half-marathon championships had been slated for March 29 and was to include a mass race of more than 25,000 participants.

"We hope that the great majority of these recreational runners will still be able to participate alongside our elite competitors on the new date," WA said.

The championships are the latest in a number of top sporting events worldwide to have been affected by the virus which has caused the deaths of 3,404 people and infected 99,464 infections in 89 countries and territories, according to AFP's latest toll based on official sources at 1130 GMT Friday.

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