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Coronavirus: Athletes advised to avoid China if possible

KUALA LUMPUR,The National Sports Council (NSC) has advised national sports associations not to send their athletes to China following the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak unless it is unavoidable.

NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said sports associations should exercise caution in this matter although so far only Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, had been declared out of bounds.

“For example, if there is a competition in Beijing and organisers have observed all the required procedures, we may have to participate if necessary.

“However, we should avoid going to China for now if possible. We can look for alternatives (for training and competition), he told reporters at the 2020 Periodisation Plan workshop here today.

Ahmad Shapawi admitted that the 2019-nCoV had slightly affected athletes’ preparations, especially those seeking Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification, following the cancellation or postponement of several championships.

“International sports bodies are in constant discussions to find a better solution to this, he added.

Among the major meets affected by the coronavirus outbreak were the Asian Athletics Championships in Hanzhou, China scheduled for Feb 12 and 13 and the China Masters which was supposed to be held from Feb 25 to March 1 in Sanya.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Shapawi said there were no plans to call back diver Cheong Jun Hoong from her training base in China.

The 2017 world champion is training in Qinhuangdao under a special programme conducted by former national coach Yang Zhuliang.

He said the 29-year-old diver had said that she was comfortable training there and the facilities were good.

“It’s not that we are not concerned about Jun Hoong’s safety but she herself has said it is better for her to continue training with her coach there, he added.

Jun Hoong, who partnered Pandelela Rinong to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, has not participated in any competition since May last year after undergoing knee surgery.

Jun Hoong needs to be among the top 18 divers in the 10m individual platform event to qualify for Tokyo.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

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