Women's Sport: First Diamond League events of the season postponed because of coronavirus

ATHLETICS MEMORIAL VAN DAMME

The Diamond League is the latest competition to postpone events as coronavirus brings almost a complete standstill to Olympic preparations.

The League announced the first three planned meetings of the season would not be going ahead as planned affecting competitions on 17 April in Doha, 9 and 16 May 2020 in China.

In a statement released to their website, the league cited the global nature of the pandemic as the root cause of the cancellations.

"This decision was made in close consultation with organising committees, local authorities and sports governing bodies," the statement added.

Qatar currently has restrictions on the movement of people from certain countries into the country, with only Qatari nationals able to enter the country. The government in Doha has also prohibited all national and international events for at least a month.

Meanwhile, the planned competition in China has been affected by delays to plans and preparations for the event.

The statement advised that the Shanghai event would currently be going ahead on 13 August but that alternative dates for the second event in China and Doha had not been decided.

The move impacts athletes in the run-up to the Olympics this summer as these competitions would have been opportunities to log qualifying distances or times.

Renaud Lavillenie, French pole-vaulter and member of the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission has taken to Twitter to share the contingency plans the organisation has put in place for qualification.

The Olympic gold medal-winning athlete said: “There is enough flexibility in the qualifying system and enough competition opportunities for athletes to find meetings where they can qualify over the next few months.”

Around 60% of athletes have already qualified for the Olympics this summer, but many who rely on specific qualifying tournaments are left waiting to see whether they have booked their ticket to Tokyo.

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