March 12, 2020 / 5:15 AM / 16 days ago

Wrestling: Olympic qualifications in Budapest, Sofia postponed amid coronavirus

(Reuters) - The international wrestling governing body, United World Wresting (UWW), said it has postponed the European Olympic qualification and the world “last chance” Olympic qualification due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The European qualifier, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, is now likely to take place in mid-May while the world “last chance” qualifier, scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Sofia, is likely to take place at the beginning of June, UWW said in a statement.

“The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic,” UWW President Nenad Lalovic said.

“The health and wellbeing of the athletes is an absolute priority.”

The flu-like virus that originated in China late last year has killed more than 4,500 people and infected more than 125,000 globally. It has forced the cancellation or postponement of numerous sporting and other events.

Wrestling was one of the original nine sports included in the first modern Olympics programme in 1896. The women’s competition was added in 2004.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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