World half-marathon championships canceled over COVID-19

MONACO (AP) — The world half-marathon championships have been canceled because China wasn’t able to host the races due to the coronavirus pandemic, World Athletics said on Tuesday.

The president of the governing body, Sebastian Coe, said it was “no fault” of local organizers in China that the event can’t be held in Yangzhou in November. The city will, instead, be given the rebranded world road running championships in 2027.

“The (World Athletics) council’s decision to award another event to Yangzhou in 2027 indicates its faith in the organizing committee and willingness to return and stage a World Athletics Series road running event there at the first available opportunity,” Coe said.

This year’s event was due to be the last before the championships are renamed the world road running championships with the addition of 5-kilometer races and mass-participation events alongside the elite competitions. The first of those is in Riga, Latvia, next year.

China has put tight restrictions on arrivals from foreign countries during the pandemic and imposes wide-ranging lockdowns for any COVID-19 positives within the country. China hosted the Winter Olympics in February in a bubble which involved cordoning off whole sections of Beijing, but has routinely called off less prominent international sports events.

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