FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, is not currently planning to cancel the 2020 Short Course World Championships in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Russian Swimming Federation president and FINA Bureau member Vladimir Salnikov.
Short Course Worlds are scheduled for Dec. 15-20 in Abu Dhabi. Summer 2021’s long course world championships have already been postponed to May 2022.
“So far, the World Championships will be held in December, but it is clear that in the current situation everyone is watching how events will develop and what the epidemiological situation will be in the coming months,” Salnikov told Russian outlet RSport.
FINA announced Abu Dhabi as the 2020 host in July 2015. Should the event go on as planned in December, it would mark the second time in 10 years that the United Arab Emirates has hosted the short course world championships, the first being in 2010 in Dubai.
2020 Short Course Worlds, of course, were set to happen after the now-postponed 2020 Olympic Games. Historically, between 900-1000 athletes swim at Short Course Worlds in Olympic years. Now, the championships would mark the only major international aquatic event of the year, but it’s far from a guarantee that athletes from around the world would be able to travel in seven months.
The United Arab Emirates has reported 19,661 COVID-19 cases with 203 deaths.