The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), alongside British Judo, have announced that the 2020 IBSA Judo Grand Prix scheduled for 11-12 April in Nottingham, Great Britain, has been cancelled.
The decision is in response to the British government’s attempts to delay the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Andrew Scoular, Chief Executive of the British Judo Association, said: “British Judo have been in regular contact with the British Olympic Association (BOA), UK Sport and Public Health England over the past couple of weeks regarding the recent outbreak of COVID-19 across the world.
“When hosting major events, the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the event, including athletes, officials, spectators, volunteers and staff is the absolute priority. Based on the UK’s plan to contain and delay the spread of COVID-19, we have received updated advice from the UK government with respect to hosting major sport events. It is with great regret that the Local Organising Committee in conjunction with IBSA has agreed to cancel this event.
“We are extremely disappointed for the athletes, who we know have been training hard and were looking forward to competing in this event, in Nottingham, and for the staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly over the last 18 months to deliver an outstanding event. However, we believe in the current situation this is the only responsible course of action to take.”
Henk van Aller, IBSA’s Executive Director, said: “Since the coronavirus was announced as a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation, we have been monitoring our competition calendar closely and working with Local Organising Committees on the advice they are receiving from national health authorities.
“We are very disappointed to have to cancel the Grand Prix in Nottingham, but fully support British Judo and the University of Nottingham in their desire to take responsible action. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has been working to make this event happen and have no doubt it would have been a great competition in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
“We will now be reviewing the qualification pathway for Tokyo 2020 in light of the changes and will ensure everyone is kept informed as we move forward.”
The Nottingham 2020 Grand Prix was the penultimate qualifier for Tokyo 2020. All ticket holders will receive a full refund. Details on this process can be found on the British Judo website – www.britishjudo.org.uk
Another IBSA Judo Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, is scheduled for 11-12 May. IBSA is currently reviewing the viability of this event and will keep stakeholders informed.