Olympics: Women’s basketball qualifier moved from China to Serbia


(Reuters) – A women’s Olympic basketball qualifying tournament for this year’s Tokyo Games has been moved from China to Serbia as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) said in a statement on Monday that the Feb. 6-9 qualifiers scheduled for Foshan would now be held in Belgrade on the same dates.

“After having carefully evaluated the developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak and placing as main priority the safety of the participating players and team delegation members, the FIBA Executive Committee decided to relocate the tournament,” it said.

The flu-like virus that was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan has killed 81 people, all in China, and infected more than 2,700 others.

Belgrade was already due to host one of four FIBA Women’s Olympic qualifying tournaments.

The qualifiers will complete the 12-team Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic tournament, with the top three from each group of four going through.

The United States, gold medalists in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and hosts Japan are participating in the qualifiers but are sure of Olympic places already.

The countries affected by the change of venue are China, Britain, South Korea and Spain.

The other two qualifying tournaments will be played in the French city of Bourges and Ostend in Belgium.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar