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Tokyo cancels World Figure Skating Championships

Searchers go through the rubble in Kamaishi, northern Japan
Large areas of Japan were devastated by the earthquake

The World Figure Skating Championships, set to take place in Japan between 21 and 27 March, have been cancelled following the earthquake and tsunami.

The event was originally postponed in the wake of the 11 March disaster, with the hope of holding it at a later date.

However, an International Skating Union statement read: "The Japanese Skating Federation regretfully and reluctantly declines hosting the Championships."

The ISU is hoping to rearrange the competition for April or May.

By Tuesday, it had received bids to stage the event from Russia (Moscow), Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia), the United States (Colorado Springs, Colorado or Lake Placid, New York), Finland (Turku), Croatia and Austria.

Britain had been set to send an eight-strong team to Tokyo.

National Ice Skating Association chief executive Keith Horton had told BBC Sport after the original postponement: "It would not have been appropriate to compete.

"Our sympathies go out to all those caught up in the devastation."

Sinead and John Kerr

Scottish duo dance to bronze in Bern

Britain's team included ice dance pair John and Sinead Kerr, the European Championships bronze medallists and a medal hope at the World Championships.

They would have been joined in ice dance by Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland, with Stacey Kemp and David King due to compete in the pairs and David Richardson and Jenna McCorkell in the individual competition.

The team were set to fly to Japan on Friday but will remain at their training bases, which are in Nottingham, Belgium, Poland and the United States.

However, Horton has doubts about whether the competition will be staged this year.

"The championships are the culmination of the season and the skaters normally have a break afterwards before resuming their programme for next season, so there isn't much of a window before a postponement would start impacting on next season's preparations," he stated.

"To move to another venue at short notice, say Vancouver in Canada where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held, is logistically difficult because there are upwards of 300 athletes, plus entourage, plus volunteers, television and media.

"So we'll have to wait and see if the championships do go ahead this year. All our skaters will remain at the training camps and be competition-ready in case, but I am doubtful."

It is the first time in 50 years the World Figure Skating Championships have been called off.

The 1961 event in Prague was cancelled after an American delegation was killed when their plane crashed on landing in Brussels.

As well as the figure skating championships, April's new international team event in Yokohama has also been called off.

Other sporting events to have been cancelled or postponed because of the earthquake include the national swimming championships, the Japanese round of the MotoGP championship and international friendly football games.



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see also
Crisis-hit Japan postpones MotoGP
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
Japan shares drop 6% after quake
15 Mar 11 |  Business
J.League halted after earthquake
14 Mar 11 |  Sport Homepage
New blast at Japan nuclear plant
14 Mar 11 |  Asia-Pacific
Kerrs secure Euro skating bronze
28 Jan 11 |  Winter Sports
Richardson handed GB skating lift
01 Dec 10 |  Other sport...
China secure figure skating gold
16 Feb 10 |  Figure skating


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