March 20, 2020 / 12:11 PM / 12 days ago

European championships postponed to August due to coronavirus

(Reuters) - The 2020 European Aquatics Championships that was scheduled to take place from May 11-24 in Budapest, Hungary, has been postponed to August due to the coronavirus outbreak, Europe’s aquatics governing body (LEN) said on Friday.

The event has been tentatively postponed to Aug. 17-30 — a week after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are set to conclude.

However, LEN president Paolo Barelli said they might consider moving the championships to 2021 if the situation does not improve in the coming months.

“At this stage it’s difficult, if not impossible, to plan with a definite time frame,” Barelli said in a statement.

“So we agreed with the Hungarian organisers to reassess the situation in late May or early June to see if we can confirm these dates as official ones.”

Hungary’s minister for sports Dr Tunde Szabo said the event could not be held under the current circumstances where fans would not be allowed to pack stadiums and swimmers unable to prepare for events.

“We all wish to see packed stands in the Duna Arena,” Szabo said. “The participating athletes deserve to enjoy that.

“And of course they also deserve the chance to have quality preparations before the big events since nowadays it’s almost impossible to train properly.”

(In this story the quote attribution changed in par 7)

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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