Basketball and cycling join Chinese events shut down by virus

The Olympic women's basketball qualifying tournament was on Monday moved out of China because of the coronavirus outbreak while cycling's Tour of Hainan was canceled.

PARIS — The Olympic women's basketball qualifying tournament was on Monday moved out of China because of the coronavirus outbreak while cycling's Tour of Hainan was canceled.

That follows the announcements on Sunday that women's Olympic football qualifiers and Fed Cup tennis were being shifted out of China while an indoor athletics event was scrapped.

The four-team basketball tournament, scheduled for Feb. 6-9 in Foshan in Guangdong province in southern China, has been moved to Belgrade. The Serbian capital is already hosting another the of four women's Olympic qualifying competitions taking place on the same dates.

Announcing the move, the International Basketball Federation said it was "placing as main priority the safety of the participating players and team delegation members."

China was to host Great Britain, Spain and South Korea for a tournament to decide three places at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Serbia, the United States, Mozambique and Nigeria are playing in another group in Belgrade. The other two tournaments are in Ostend in Belgium and Bourges in France.

Meanwhile, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that the Tour of Hainan, scheduled to take place in China's southernmost province from February 23 to March 1 had been cancelled.

Created in 2006, the race, on the island of Hainan, was being promoted to the UCI ProSeries, the second tier of international cycling.

The UCI said the race might be rescheduled in 2020, "depending on the availability of the calendar".

The body's next event due to be held in China is women's Tour of Chongqing Island near Shanghai, from May 7 to 9.

The UCI said it is "in regular contact with the Chinese authorities."

Meanwhile French second-division club Auxerre, which has been Chinese-owned since 2016, said it was repatriating staff working in Chinese football academies in Bengbu, in Anhui province, and Jinshan in Shanghai.

The Olympic women's football tournament had already been moved from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to Nanjing, but will now be held in Sydney.

"The safety of all players, officials and fans is of paramount importance to Football Federation Australia and the Asian Football Confederation, and we are confident we will host a successful tournament here in Sydney," Australian football chief Chris Nikou said in a statement. China's Xinhua news agency said the Chinese Football Association took the decision to offload the Olympic qualifiers, which involve China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand, after cases of the virus came to light in Jiangsu.

The Fed Cup women's team tournament, involving China, Taiwan, India, South Korea and Uzbekistan will be held in the Kazakh capital on the originally scheduled dates, Feb. 4-8.

The Asian indoor athletics championships, planned for Feb. 12-13 in Hangzhou have been canceled. The world championships set to take place in Nanjing a month later. — AFP