WTS Bermuda to go ahead
The International Triathlon Union has confirmed that MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda will go ahead as planned next month despite fears over the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The event, scheduled for April 18 and 19 was in doubt after the ITU and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council last week postponed the first of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as a protection measure against the spread of the virus.
Covid-19 has more than 90,000 confirmed cases and 3,000 deaths worldwide.
But Bermuda organisers and the ITU have confirmed the preparations will continue as scheduled for the series, which will include a first for the island, a Paratriathlon World Cup Series event on Sunday, April 19.
Antonio Fernandez Arimany, the ITU secretary-general, said the situation would be monitored with guidance from the World Health Organisation.
He added: “We can confirm at this stage that Bermuda's World Triathlon Series is scheduled to continue as planned.
“The ITU continues to monitor the situation closely, following advice from the World Health Organisation, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.
“We are holding continuous talks with event organisers, National Federations, teams, coaches and athletes to assess the risk and to ensure athletes' safety.”
The ITU has advised all competing triathletes that the remaining races on the ITU calender in Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada were scheduled to take place.
A spokesman said: “At this moment, no other measures have been taken and all the other events in the calendar continue as per the official ITU calendar.
“In case a situation on any host country changes, ITU will take the appropriate measures in co-operation with the local organising committees and the local authorities to keep the athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and staff's safety as the first priority.
“If any changes happen in the near future, ITU will communicate immediately to all stakeholders the new situation.”
The season opener was scheduled to take place on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, but the decision to postpone the event was triggered by the presence of the infection in the area, as well as the quarantines and travel restrictions imposed by different governments and travel companies, which made it impossible to host the event.
About 300 elite athletes and more than 2,500 age group athletes and scholars were expected to compete in the UAE, including Bermuda's Flora Duffy.
The two-times ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion had hoped to get her season under way in Abu Dhabi and, despite her disappointment at the postponement, praised the organisers' caution.
Duffy, who hopes to be a medal contender at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, wrote on Instagram: “So the news is out, @wtsabudhabi is postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak in the area.”
She added: “Thanks to the ITU, LOC and local government for making a swift and safe decision. I was really looking forward to starting the season but I guess I'll have to wait a few more weeks!”
Covid-19 has also threatened the Olympic Games in Tokyo, although Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, has said that the organisation was “fully committed” to holding the Olympics on schedule, from July 24 to August 9.
The MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda is the next on the seven-series circuit, which will end with the World Championships and Grand Finals in Edmonton, Canada, in August.
Bermuda will host the ITU World Championships and Age Group Grand Finals in October, 2021.