Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
The governing body of world tennis has decided to move the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I from China to Kazakhstan “due to increasing travel restrictions in China” during the coronavirus outbreak.
The International Federation of Tennis (ITF), the governing body of world tennis, made the announcement to move the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I through a statement on their website.
The Fed Cup is a prestigious competition for women’s international tennis and is the international women’s sporting event that has the highest number of participating nations.
The ITF’s statement announced the tournament’s group stage of the region, which was set to take place in the city of Dongguan in southern China, “will now be played in the National Tennis Centre in Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan.”
The statement added: “The decision to move the event to a different venue was taken due to increasing travel restrictions in China, P.R. at the present time and followed consultation with independent security advisors.”
The Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I stage is set to take place between 4-8 February and the tournament’s finals are set for 14th to 19th April.
Sania Mirza, 33, considered India’s most successful female tennis player, is reportedly likely to miss the Fed Cup. She was forced to leave the Australian Open half-way through her first-round doubles match on 23rd January due to a tear in her right calf and was advised two to three weeks rest.
Local media report the women’s football Olympic qualifiers in the region were also moved from the city of Nanjing in the Jiangsu province of China to the Australian capital city of Sydney for the “safety of all players”.
Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou said: “The safety of all players, officials and fans is of paramount importance to Football Federation Australia and the Asian Football Confederation.
“And we are confident we will host a successful tournament here in Sydney.”
There have reportedly been 4,635 cases of the deadly coronavirus which has claimed 106 lives so far.
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