The track and field 2021 World Indoor Championships which were to be held in Nanjing, China have been postponed for a second straight year.
“It is with regret that we have agreed with the organisers of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing (19-21 March 2021) to postpone the event to March 2023,” World Athletics said in a press release on Thursday.
The decision has been taken in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. “Whilst we have been liaising with the Organising Committee and the Chinese Athletics Association to evaluate the staging over the last few weeks, given the current global situation, there is still significant uncertainty about the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in the early part of 2021,” the release stated.
Nanjing is about 530 kilometres from Wuhan, the ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic. “For the safety of our athletes and technical officials, we must duly consider the risks in bringing a large group of people to attend the event under the pandemic situation and fully respect and carry out the pandemic prevention policy of the host country,” it added.
2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia to go ahead as planned
The World Indoor Championships fall within a narrow calendar window. Hence, it is not possible for it to be held after the end of March.
However, since the extensive planning that has went into the 2021 tournament, World Athletics has promised to conduct it in Nanjing in 2023. It would take place after Belgrade hosts the 2022 edition. “We would like Nanjing to be the host of our World Indoor Championships given the extensive planning and preparation they have put into this event so have agreed they will stage the event one year after the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 2022,” the release stated.
World Athletics has assured the athletes that they would get enough competitive opportunities despite the postponement of the 2021 World Indoor Championships.
“Despite this postponement, our athletes will still have substantial competitive opportunities available in the early part of 2021 through the World Indoor Tour which comprises 26 meetings spread across 12 countries in Europe and North America. The World Indoor Tour runs from the end of January to the end of February 2021 and is organised across three different tiers of competition – Gold, Silver and Bronze,” the release stated.