The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) announced on Tuesday that the 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships, originally set to open on March 22 in South Korea’s southeastern port city of Busan, will be postponed amid the soaring cases of COVID-19 in the country over the past week.
“In light of the emerging situation in the Korea Republic and to best preserve the health and safety of players, officials and fans, the Hana Bank 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan have been postponed with the dates of 21-28 June provisionally reserved,” read an ITTF statement, reports Xinhua news agency.
It noted that an emergency contingency meeting was held between the ITTF senior management, the Korea Table Tennis Association (KTTA) and representatives of Busan, after the city reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus last Friday.
Following the meeting, the ITTF executive committee approved the decision to provisionally delay the event from March 22-29 to June 21-28, while monitoring the situation over the coming weeks.
The postponement of the Busan tournament had been widely expected, with 37 teams already having announced their withdrawal from the event amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
As of Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed cases in South Korea had risen to 893, up 60 from the previous day, with eight people having died.