Figure skating: Skate Canada cancelled after rise in COVID-19 cases

(Reuters) - The Skate Canada International Grand Prix has been cancelled because of COVID-19 health and safety concerns, Skate Canada said on Wednesday.

The second event on the figure skating Grand Prix calendar, Skate Canada had been scheduled for Oct. 30-31 in Ottawa. But with coronavirus cases rising and new restrictions limiting gatherings, officials decided it was no longer possible to stage the competition even without fans.

“This year is unlike any year before and we’ve seen significant challenges on the operation of competitive events due to the global pandemic,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada, in a statement.

“As a result of the continuous shift in requirements across the country and the recent 28-day shut down in Ontario’s hot spots, which includes Ottawa, it became clear that it would not be possible to host this event.”

The six-event figure skating Grand Prix season -- now trimmed to five -- begins Oct. 23-24 in Las Vegas, where Skate America is set to go ahead despite a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Other events in China, France, Russia and Japan also remain on the schedule.

The Grand Prix final originally set for Dec. 10-13 in Beijing was postponed earlier and has yet to be rescheduled.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Catherine Evans