Paralympics: Mexico earthquake forces postponement of world para-swimming and para-powerlifting championships

(REUTERS) - The world para-swimming and para-powerlifting championships to be held in Mexico City later this month have been postponed following the devastating earthquake this week, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said on Wednesday.

Tuesday's 7.1-magnitude quake killed at least 226 people, nearly half of them in the Mexican capital and among them at least 22 schoolchildren, less than two weeks after a powerful tremor killed nearly 100 people in the south of the country.

The IPC said that this was the first time it had been forced to postpone a major championship.

Both events were due to start on Sept 30 with 1,400 athletes, officials and staff involved.

"As a result of this tragedy, we are in full agreement that the immediate focus of the Mexican authorities should be on prioritising recovery and rebuilding for the Mexican people and not organising two major international sport events," IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement.

"I know the postponement of both championships will be disappointing news to all the athletes who were set to take part, however these are unique circumstances and quite simply, this is the right thing to do at the moment."

Parsons said arrangements were being made for a safe departure of delegations that had already arrived.

The death toll in Mexico City has surged to 117 people and was expected to rise further while the state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City, was also hit hard with 55 killed.

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