Swimming-Fukuoka mayor says world championships will be postponed again


(Reuters) -The FINA world swimming championships, due to be held in Fukuoka in May, will be postponed until next year, the Japanese city's major has said.

The competition, which was originally slated for 2021 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the delayed staging of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, had been set to run from May 13-29, but will now be rescheduled once again.

"With the Omicron variant spreading across the world, it has been impossible to hold competitions to select athletes representing each country," Fukuoka mayor Soichiro Takashima told a news conference.

"Given this situation, FINA has decided to postpone the world championships in Fukuoka from this year to the next.

"When I think about the athletes who have been training for the May event, and about awaiting fans in and outside the country, I feel so bad."

FINA declined to comment when approached by Reuters.

Takashima said FINA had yet to decide on a new date for the championships.

"New schedules have not been fixed," he said. "But Japan has four seasons. Outdoor competition like long-distance swimming can be held only in certain periods. Timing for the event will naturally be limited to and around summer."

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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