Coronavirus: World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan postponed from March to June

A photo from April 28, 2018, shows Singapore's Yu Mengyu at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The World Team Table Tennis Championships, which were scheduled for March 22-29 in Busan, South Korea, have been postponed.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) announced this in a press release on Tuesday (Feb 25).

In a statement it said: "Given the uncertainty and changing situation in Korea Republic amidst the outbreak of Covid-19 across the nation, the decision was made with the health and safety of players, officials and fans as the top priority."

It added that the tournament has been provisionally penned in for June 21-28.

However, those dates clash with the World Tour's Australian Open (June 23-28) and Korean Open (June 16-21) and the ITTF is now scrambling to "find suitable dates for those events".

It thanked the Korean federation for its "outstanding professionalism in dealing with this extraordinary situation" and noted that "by continuing to work hard and in close cooperation with all stakeholders in Busan, the ITTF remains confident about putting on a great World Championships in June".

South Korea has been badly hit by the coronavirus, with nearly 900 people infected and eight deaths so far.

On Monday, the country announced a delay to the start of the K-League. One of Asian football's strongest leagues, it had been scheduled to kick off this weekend.

Other sports that have taken precautions, such as holding matches behind closed doors and shortening their seasons by cancelling playoffs, include basketball, volleyball and handball.

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