What impact is the coronavirus making in British and world athletics?
Sport has been put on hold during the coronavirus outbreak which has brought chaos and uncertainty to the calendar.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the main questions surrounding athletics.
What has definitely been cancelled?
The Olympics in Tokyo have finally been postponed after the IOC and Japan’s government bowed to increasing pressure. The Games must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021. Australia and Canada had already said they would not attend if it was held in 2020. Club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events have all been suspended in England, Scotland and Wales. Many athletes preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games have had their training venues in the UK shut due to Government guidelines about social distancing.
Which events have been postponed and until when?
The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing became the first athletics event to be postponed in January. It was due to be held in March but has been delayed until next year after the coronavirus outbreak. The London Marathon – scheduled for April 26 – has been put back until October 4, while the Manchester and Edinburgh marathons are also delayed. The opening three Diamond League meets in Qatar and China have been postponed and all 675 UK Parkrun events have been put on hold until the end of March. The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland have been moved to October 17.
What’s likely to go soon?
Now the Olympics have been postponed the summer of athletics in the UK could become clearer. No decision has been made on the British Championships – which are scheduled for June and double as the Olympic trials – but it is increasingly likely they will be called off. The Anniversary Games in London, due to be in early July, will also be a doubt. It is held at the London Stadium and could clash with a West Ham home game if the Premier League is still playing.
Is anything likely to remain on in 2020?
The European Championships in Paris in August are yet to be cancelled or postponed but it remains to be seen whether they will go ahead. Much will depend on the worldwide situation improving in the next few months. It will be hard to see where it can be placed if they are postponed – especially if the Olympics are moved – with the World Championships in Oregon in August next year.
Where does the sport go from here?
Athletes are in limbo, especially where the displaced Olympics are concerned, and heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson has left her base in France, saying it was “impossible” to train. Much like every sport, it faces a waiting game over when it can return to normal.