SPORTS

China Virus Threat Disrupts Boxing Olympic Qualifiers

“We have not been informed of an alternate location or dates but from Fiji’s perspective this is a costly exercise and we are grateful to the Fiji National Sports Commission for their funding support for China.”
24 Jan 2020 12:50
China Virus Threat Disrupts Boxing Olympic Qualifiers
Amateur boxer Winston Hill (left) in action during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Photo: Zimbio

The Fiji Amateur Boxing Association (FABA) has welcomed the cancellation of the upcoming Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing qualifiers in Wuhan, China next month in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The qualifiers were set to take place on February 3-15.

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) cancelled the qualifiers yesterday, amid growing fears the outbreak could quickly become an international emergency.

A three-member Fijian amateur boxing team, comprising Winston Hill, Jone Koroilagilagi and coach Pauliasi Ratu (senior), were set to depart Fiji on January 29.

They will now be forced to change their plans after the Fijian Ministry of Health also warned against travel to Wuhan in a statement issued yesterday.

“No doubt this is disappointing for Team Boxing Fiji,” said FABA president Manasa Baravilala.

“However, athlete’s welfare is paramount, and the decision was the right one.

“We have not been informed of an alternate location or dates but from Fiji’s perspective this is a costly exercise and we are grateful to the Fiji National Sports Commission for their funding support for China.”

Wuhan is believed to be the centre of the outbreak, with Chinese officials putting the city of roughly 11 million people on lockdown yesterday.

The IOC is yet to announce an alternative venue, but the Philippines has offered to host the event.

It is understood the IOC’s boxing taskforce met in London yesterday to discuss plans for an alternative venue.

The death toll from the outbreak has risen to 17, with 540 confirmed cases, according to the Reuters news agency.

The Fijian Ministry of Health will also begin screening passengers at all international points of entries in response to the outbreak, it said in a statement.

However, it has warned that border screening may not be enough as people exposed to the virus may not show any symptoms for 7-14 days.

“There are no direct flights from Wuhan to Fiji. However, we do have flights from Hong Kong and Singapore that may serve as connections for passengers from Wuhan,” the statement said.

“Therefore, we are introducing additional health screening measures for passengers disembarking from flights that originate in Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Passengers who have recently travelled to Wuhan and are suspected to have the disease will be managed according to existing protocols. These measures may change as the situation develops.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: