The Asian Olympic Qualifiers for wrestling, which was scheduled to be held from March 27 to 29 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan has been cancelled. The Kyrgyzstan government has informed the United World Wrestling (UWW) that it will no longer host the event due to the spread of coronavirus. While India had initially shown interest, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is not too keen on hosting it anymore.
In a press release, UWW stated that it is now considering other solutions and discussions with the International Olympic Committee will be continued next week.
"Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus infection not only in China, but also in other countries of the world, fears are growing in Kyrgyzstan," wrote K.M. Arpachiev, Deputy Drector of the State Agency for Youth, Physical Education and Sports under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Initially, India had shown interest in hosting the qualifiers before it had gone to Bishkek but in light of the complications arising out of the spread of the disease, a source within the WFI suggested that it would no longer be keen to host it.
"This is only spreading further in Asia. There are problems in Korea now and even Japan. There are quarantines that need to be done, nobody is giving China visas. So for us to host it here at such a short notice with so much happening will be very difficult," the source told IANS.
The WFI will however be allowing most of the Indian wrestlers to continue their training schedule as planned. The male freestyle wrestlers are set to train in Makachkala, Russia, while the Greco Roman wrestlers will train in Baku, Azerbaijan. The women wrestlers however won't be going to Kiev, Ukraine where they were originally set to train ahead of the qualifiers.
"The women won't be training in Kiev. Vinesh (Phogat) is in Norway while the others one by one suggested that it is better that they train here. So we decided to cancel the training," the WFI source said.
The wrestling qualifiers were originally scheduled to be held in Xi'an, China, but was later shifted to Bishkek in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus which has affected several large cities in China.