Cao Liguo of China (in red) and Shota Ogawa of Japan compete in Men's Greco-Roman-55kg at 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championship in Nursultan, Kazakhstan, September 15, 2019. (Photos: VCG)
Chinese wrestlers will be unable to compete in the Asian championships in New Delhi this week after being denied visas because of the coronavirus outbreak.
"They are not coming. Of course health concerns remain a big reason and the coronavirus outbreak is deadly," Wrestling Federation of India's Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar told AFP.
Despite China's constant coordination with organizing committee for participation since earlier this month when India suspended e-visas for Chinese nationals due to the deadly virus, Team China was not on the list released by the sport's governing body's United World Wrestling (UWW).
A Chinese association spokesperson was quoted as saying on UWW website: "The wrestlers are disappointed for sure… they will prepare for the future event."
Rong Ningning of China (2nd L) wins the gold medal at women's 57 kg freestyle wrestling at 2019 Senior Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi'an, China, April 26, 2019.
Last year, China ranked second among all teams, with five gold, five silver and six bronze medals at the championship.
The Chinese wrestlers are now in Beijing to train for Asian Olympic Wrestling Qualifiers, originally slated to be held in northwest China's Xi'an City from March 27-29, but will be shifted to another venue outside China, also because of the spread of the virus.
The Asian championships, which provide UWW ranking points that count towards seedings at this year's Tokyo Olympics, began Tuesday and will run until February 23.
Japanese world champions Kenichiro Fumita and Risako Kawai are among top wrestlers taking part.