Olympic boxing qualifier pushed back a month after coronavirus cancellation

Samoa’s national boxing team are still waiting for word on where they will be fighting for a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The combined Oceania and Asia qualifying tournament had been scheduled to take place in Wuhan, China from February 3-14.

But that competition was called off on Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak which originated in the city and has killed at least 18 people to date.

The qualifier has been pushed back a month to March 3-14.

Samoan athletes were not only in line to compete in the tournament, but also to attend a training camp in Wuhan in the weeks prior to the event.

A team compromising at least the national champion in each weight class (eight boxers as determined by the national trials in December), had been due to fly over.

The International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force will now seek a replacement host for the tournament, which was to be the first of five continental qualifiers for the 2020 Games.

They said in a statement that they will be working with the Chinese Olympic Committee and other partners to do so.

It is understood that such a decision will be made in the next day or so, with Beijing, the Philippines and Japan all rumoured as potential replacement venues.

The Oceania-Asia qualifier is Samoa’s second-to-last and best chance to get boxers into the Olympics, with a final World Qualifying Tournament to be held in France in May.

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