Coronavirus: Boxing Olympic qualifying event to be suspended from Monday night

  • Coronavirus: Boxing Olympic qualifying event to be suspended from Monday night

Coronavirus: Boxing Olympic qualifying event to be suspended from Monday night

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - The European, Americas and final world qualifying boxing tournaments for the Tokyo Olympic Games were suspended on Monday after falling victim to the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe.

The competition involving more than 300 athletes from 45 European countries was scheduled to run until March 24 with 77 Olympic berths to distribute.

The 19-year-old Londoner beat Ala Staradub of Belarus in the opening match at the Copper Box near the London 2012 Olympic stadium.

Monday's sessions, which happened behind shut doors, will certainly be finished prior to the suspension.

Caroline Dubois won her first career fight at a Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier on Saturday.

The Belgian lost a 4-1 split decision in the 60kg lightweight division but will have one last chance to win her place in Tokyo 2020 in a final global qualifying tournament that is now slated for May in Paris.

The IOC's Boxing Task Force say they've made the decision to suspend the event after this evening's session as they claim now that "Safeguarding the well-being of the athletes, officials and all other participants is a top priority for the BTF".

"We remain absolutely in line with our Japanese hosts in our commitment to delivering a safe Olympic Games in July this year", it said.

"Since the preparation phase of the event, the BTF has been working in close cooperation with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) - the delivery body of the competition - as well as its stakeholders, its own medical experts and the national health authorities, to set up the necessary precautionary measures", BTF said in a statement.

The International Olympic Committee does not plan any "drastic" decisions about the Tokyo 2020 Games, saying on Tuesday it remains fully committed to the event being staged in four months time despite the global spread of the coronavirus.

"For the remaining 43% of places, the IOC will work with the worldwide federations to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020", the Olympic body said.