Russians to skip World Cup events in U.S., Japan: federation

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s artistic gymnastics federation said on Friday the country would skip World Cup events in the United States and Japan so its athletes were not exhausted by long flights and jet lag.

Earlier on Friday, all-around world champion Nikita Nagornyy said on Instagram that he and the Russian team would not compete at a World Cup event in the U.S. next month because of the growing number of coronavirus cases internationally.

He later deleted the post.

The federation told the TASS news agency it wanted its athletes to focus on competitions in Europe instead of them taking long flights to the U.S. and Japan, which it said could take a toll on their health.

It said Nagornyy’s comments did not represent the federation’s position.

A string of sporting events have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus outbreaks in several countries, and some athletes have taken precautionary measures to avoid contracting it.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris