A wheelchair rugby test event ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

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The Tokyo 2020 organising committee announced on Tuesday that the Japan Para Wheelchair Rugby Championship, which had been due to take place between March 12 and 15, has been called off by the Japan Para Sports Association.

A statement from the organising committee said: “Tokyo 2020 nevertheless will carry out the wheelchair rugby test event in some form in April, after ensuring a safe and secure environment, and will consult with the International Paralympic Committee, International Wheelchair Rugby Federation, and other relevant organisations to determine the new schedule and the content of such tests by the end of March.

“We will continue to stay in close collaboration with all relevant organisations as we prepare to deliver a safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Games.”

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board is meeting in Lausanne this week with coronavirus sure to be on the agenda amid fears it could impact this summer’s Games where Fiji will be defending their men’s rugby sevens title won in Rio four years ago.

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Meanwhile, the BBC are reporting that in a response to a question in Japan’s parliament, Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “calls for the Games to be held within 2020”.

She added that “could be interpreted as allowing a postponement”. 

The Games are due to be held from 24 July to 9 August. “We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” Hashimoto added.

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– Press Association 

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