The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships scheduled to take place in Seoul next month have been cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union, confirmed the news on the day that the number of cases in South Korea was reported to have exceeded 1,000.
It follows the decision by officials in the South Korean capital to close and cancel all competitions at the Mokdong Ice Rink, which had been due to host the event.
In a statement, the ISU said: “The ISU was informed through the Korea Skating Union that the competent authorities of the city of Seoul ordered the closing of the Mokdong Ice Rink and the cancellation of all planned competitions.
“The ISU therefore is unable to hold the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2020 at the above-mentioned planned date.”
Triple world champion Elise Christie tweeted her disappointment, writing: “Unfortunately our world championships has been either cancelled or postponed to be reallocated with the ongoing covid-19 situation.
“But more importantly let’s hope the virus gets contained soon and further loss of life and illness is minimised as much as possible.”
ISU officials indicated it was impractical to consider postponing or finding a new venue for the Championships at such a late stage.