MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. The 2020 European Weightlifting Championships in the Russian capital of Moscow, which was earlier rescheduled for mid-June due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been postponed until autumn, Maxim Agapitov, the president of the Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF), told TASS on Tuesday.
The championship was to be hosted by Moscow on April 4-12, but on March 10 the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced a decision to move the tournament to June 13-21 as a preventive measure against the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus. The European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow had the status of the qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympic Games in Japan.
"The European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow, which has been moved to June, will not take place on these dates and was rescheduled to be held in autumn," Agapitov said.
"Everyone understands that under the current situation all countries have been blocked and it is impossible to get everyone together," the RWF president continued. "The city of Moscow has been blocked as well and it is obvious that the situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future."
"I have pointed out during my talks with the general secretary of the European Weightlifting Federation that the tournament [in Moscow] must be postponed since there were only two months left before the set date," Agapitov said. "We can't do anything in the current circumstances so I proposed the month of October."
The head of Russia’s governing body of weightlifting also told TASS that the new dates for the rescheduled European Weightlifting Championships would be confirmed only after a session of the Executive Committee of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
"A meeting of the Executive Committee is set to start tomorrow and its task is to determine the qualifications period and tournaments in the run-up to the Olympics," Agapitov said. "Based on the meeting’s results continental [weightlifting] federations will be making decision on the organization of continental tournaments."
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9, and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games were planned to be organized between August 25 and September 6. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the IPC (the International Paralympic Committee) announced their decision on March 24 to postpone for one year the tournaments in Japan due to the continuous COVID-19 spread.
Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo-2020 Olympics Local Organizing Committee, announced on March 30 that the Summer Olympic Games in Japan next year will start on July 23 and the Summer Paralympic Games will begin on August 24.
"Traditionally, all tournaments take a one-month period and we should now settle this issue with Eurosport television broadcaster to find out when they have a window for this matter," Agapitov commented.
"Obviously, it [the tournament] will neither be this June nor even in July, so we will be considering possible calendar options at the end of this year," Agapitov added.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,900,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 120,800 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 459,500 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 21,102 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,694 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 170 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.