Coronavirus Leads ITU to Move Olympic Triathlon Qualifier from China

An Olympic triathlon qualifier scheduled to be held in China May has been moved to Spain over fears relating to the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. The Chengdu World Cup, which was scheduled to be the final triathlon mixed relay qualifying event for the Olympics, will be moved to Valencia, Spain, the International Triathlon Union announced on Wednesday.

The first 7 spots in the mixed triathlon relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be awarded based on world rankings on March 31st, 2020. The additional 3 spots will go to 3 new national federations via the top finishers at the Valencia event that was originally scheduled for Chengdu.

Those mixed qualifying relays are significant as countries that qualify through those events automatically get 2 individual spots in the individual triathlons as well. Each country is allowed to enter up to 3 individuals in the men’s and women’s individual triathlon events.

The mixed team qualifying event was originally scheduled for May 1st, but will now instead be held on May 1st in Chengdu. The Chengdu stop of the World Cup is planned to be rescheduled for later in the season, though not during the Olympic qualifying period. This will reduce the opportunities for individual athletes to claim a spot at the Olympic Games by 1, as Chengdu was to be the last stop before the May 11th deadline for individual world rankings.

2020 is the first year where the mixed-gender relay event is being offered at the Olympic Games. The format will have teams of four (two men and two women), with each athlete performing a triathlon of a 300 meter swim, 8km cycle, and 2km run. That’s as compared to the normal Olympic distances of 1.5km swim, 50km cycle, and 10km run.

Spain has so far reported 15 cases of COVID-19, with 2 of those cases having fully recovered.

Other Thursday Coronavirus Updates:

  • Several Italian swimmers spoke out in favor of closing their upcoming Olympic Trials to spectators to reduce the risk to athletes.
  • In late January, the NCAA Sports Science Institute sent out a memo to member institutions advising them to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) instructions regarding coronavirus. With winter sports championship season, including basketball and swimming tournaments, arriving as the CDC warns of a pending outbreak in the United States, the NCAA says that it will use the same protocols it would for any other public health crisis, and that it is “taking concerted steps to maintain the first-rate delivery of NCAA championship experiences for participating student-athletes, team personnel and fans.”
  • As of Thursday morning, 47 countries have now reported coronavirus infections.
  • American stock markets dropped 4.4% on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the main indexes of U.S. stock market health, has dropped 10% this week – surpassing a major threshold for a “market correction.” That includes a 1,200 point drop on Thursday alone – the worst drop in history.
  • Japan has closed all of its schools for a month in an effort to combat the virus. Japan, which is scheduled to host this summer’s Olympic Games, has reported 189 vases and 3 deaths – 5th-most among all reporting countries in the world. Japan’s territorial waters also play host to a cruise ship that has had quarantined patrons on it for weeks, though many countries have evacuated their citizens.
  • The first booms of coronavirus in the US are happening in California and Massachussetts. California is monitoring 8,400 people for signs of the disease, with 33 having tested positive so far. 608 people were being monitored in Massachusetts, though 377 of those have been released without symptoms.
  • Two golfers in Italy, which is experiencing a rapid spread in its northern regions, have been quarantined after possible exposure.
  • The president of the IOC reaffirmed on Thursday that he was “totally committed to holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
  • Four Serie-A matches in Italy’s top professional men’s soccer league have been closed to fans, including the massive Juventus-Inter.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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