Cross-country skiing-Men's 50km race delayed, shortened to 30km due to high winds

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ZHANGJIAKOU, China, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The men's 50km freestyle race at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday has been delayed by an hour to 1500 local time (0700 GMT) and shortened to 30km due to high winds at the National Cross-Country Centre, organisers announced.

Strong winds buffeting the course and temperatures of minus 16 Celsius in the early afternoon caused organisers to make the changes just over an hour before the race was due to start.

"Due to strong winds and the resulting extreme weather conditions on the course, the distance of the originally planned 50km will be shortened to 30km," the race organisers said in a statement.

"The decision was taken in regards to the athlete's safety, to reduce the time of exposure of athletes in extreme conditions."

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Editing by Ken Ferris and Jacqueline Wong

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