Paralympics: Boccia test event postponed due to coronavirus


TOKYO (Reuters) – A boccia competition which was to double as a test event for this year’s Tokyo Paralympic Games has been postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, organizers said on Thursday.

The Japan Para Championships was due to be held at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre from Feb. 28 to March 1 but had been “temporarily placed on hold,” the Japan Para Sports Association (JPSA) said.

The flu-like virus has killed more than 2,000 people in China and infected over 74,000 globally.

A statement from Tokyo 2020 organizers confirmed the postponement of the test event for boccia, a ball sport with similarities to bowls and petanque.

“The JPSA has concluded that further time is necessary to fully analyze the potential impacts should the novel coronavirus affect an athlete,” it said in the statement, adding that a test event would take place “in some form”.

The boccia championship is the latest event to be canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Formula One Chinese Grand Prix is the most high-profile event to be canceled so far while next month’s Tokyo Marathon has been closed to general participation with only elite professional runners allowed to take part.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford