What's the story?
The Asian Olympic Qualifiers, that were scheduled to begin in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan next month, have been postponed. The updated dates and venue has not been confirmed yet by the Government of Kyrgyzstan.
Asian Wrestling Qualifiers were originally scheduled to take place in Xian, China. However, the event was shifted to Kyrgyzstan after the coronavirus outbreak in China. However, Chinese wrestlers will be allowed to take part in the event after going through a quarantine process in Belgrade, Serbia. This will be in addition to the wrestlers going through a screening process in China as well.
The heart of the matter
According to the latest directive by the Government of Kyrgyzstan, all the sporting events in the country have been postponed citing the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID 19).
The new dates are yet to be released but the event will take place in April (according to the Iranian Wrestling Federation). Travel restrictions are in place in multiple Asian nations to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The original dates for the Asian Qualifiers were March 27-29. India had also named a 14-member squad for the event. In a communique, the Kyrgyz Republic's Press Service of the State Agency for Youth, Physical Education and Sports stated (as per a Russian publication):
"This decision is due to the aggravation of the situation with the spread of Coronavirus in the world."
Asian Olympic Qualifiers join the long list of sporting events that have been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus. Indian grapplers Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Vinesh Phogat, and Deepak Punia have already secured a berth for the quadrennial extravaganza in Tokyo.
The qualifiers will be extremely important for other top Indian wrestlers such as Sunil Kumar (Greco-Roman), Sonam Malik, Divya Kakran, and Jitender Kumar who are also expected to seal a berth for Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Also Checkout: 2020 Tokyo Olympics Schedule