What impact is the coronavirus making in British and world athletics?

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Sport has been put on hold during the coronavirus outbreak which has brought chaos and uncertainty to the calendar.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main questions surrounding athletics.

What has definitely been cancelled?

The Olympics in Tokyo have finally been postponed after the IOC and Japan’s government bowed to increasing pressure. The Games will now take place 12 months later, starting in late July next summer. Club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events have all been suspended in England, Scotland and Wales. Many athletes preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games have had their training venues in the UK shut due to Government guidelines about social distancing.

Which events have been postponed and until when?

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing became the first athletics event to be postponed in January. It was due to be held in March but has been delayed until next year after the coronavirus outbreak. The London Marathon – scheduled for April 26 – has been put back until October 4, while the Manchester and Edinburgh marathons are also delayed. The opening three Diamond League meets in Qatar and China have been postponed and all 675 UK Parkrun events have been put on hold until the end of March. The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland have been moved to October 17. UK Athletics has said the British Championships, which were scheduled for June 20-21, will now be staged on August 8-9 in Manchester, assuming the situation has improved sufficiently by then.

What’s likely to go soon?

West Ham United v Arsenal – Premier League – London Stadium
The Olympic Stadium is due to host the Anniversary Games in July (Steven Paston/PA)

What else is likely to remain on in 2020?

The European Championships in Paris in August are yet to be cancelled or postponed but it remains to be seen whether they will go ahead. Much will depend on the worldwide situation improving in the next few months. It will be hard to see where it can be placed if they are postponed – especially if the Olympics are moved – with the World Championships in Oregon in August next year.

Where does the sport go from here?

Athletes are in limbo, especially where the displaced Olympics are concerned, and heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson has left her base in France, saying it was “impossible” to train. Much like every sport, it faces a waiting game over when it can return to normal.

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