Welsh boxing Olympic hopeful Lauren Price has thanked her fans for their support after the abandonment of her qualification route.
The Welsh world, European and Commonwealth champion – who would arguably have been Wales’ best chance of a gold medal in Tokyo later this year – was meant to be competing on Tuesday at the Copper Box Arena in London.
But the event, which had already begun, was suspended after Monday night’s session because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Road to Tokyo tournament began on Saturday but was moved behind closed doors on Sunday.
Price said on Twitter: “As many of you are asking, I was meant to be starting my Olympic qualification event tomorrow (Tuesday). However, due to the coronavirus the tournament has been suspended and is due to be rescheduled.
“Date and venue to be confirmed. Thanks again for all the support.”
The event was due to run until 24 March but qualifying events in the Americas and final world qualifiers, which were scheduled to take place in May, have also been suspended.
The International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force (BTF) said, “safe-guarding the wellbeing of the athletes, officials and all other participants is a top priority.
“Since the preparation phase of the event, the BTF has been working in close co-operation 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.
“The BTF eventually took the decision to suspend the event today, amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures, in order to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home.”
It added: “The BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily, aiming to complete the distribution of the remaining Tokyo 2020 boxing quota places in May and June.”
The LOC said: “The LOC is extremely disappointed for all of the boxers, who have been training hard and were looking forward to competing in this event here in London and for all the staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding event.
“The LOC is continuing to work closely with all the international teams and officials to assist with accommodation and travels to ensure they can return home from the UK.”