The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced that next weekend’s ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi has been postponed.

The elite men’s field starts at the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi. Photo: ITU

We’ve reported on a number of events that have been postponed because of the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus, but the announcement today that the ITU is postponing WTS Abu Dhabi seems like a bit of game changer. With athletes still looking for qualifying positions for the 2020 Olympics, the opening race of the 2020 WTS, would have offered valuable qualifying points for some athletes looking to race in Tokyo.

The move comes just a few days after cycling’s UAE Tour event was cancelled when athletes competing in the race tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Related: ITU Postpones Asian Cup and World Cup Events

The WTS event in Abu Dhabi was set to include elite triathlon and paratriathlon races, along with a Mixed Relay event.

According to the release, “The event was due to take place from March 5 to March 7 in Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi, where some cases were reported in the last few days. Although the Abu Dhabi authorities are working on measures so that the safety of all the athletes, coaches and officials participating in the event is the main concern, due to the new World Health Organization recommendations and the spread of the virus, ITU and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council have jointly agreed to postpone the event.”

Officials are hoping to relocate the event later in March or April.  The weekend racing would include 300 elite athletes and 2,500 age group competitors.

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